LA LICORNE, LAVAL, FRANCE
La Licorne is a three-storey office block in the
Laval and Mayenne Technology Park in western
France. It was designed by Paris-based Périphériques/
Marin+Trottin-Architectes as a low-energy building
with high impact for its size, with its relatively small
combined floor space of 1800sqm.
The external facade combines raw concrete with
gold and silver-coloured engineered steel strips at
strategically positioned angles, producing a moiré
effect. The play of light and partial reflections of the
sky are intended to create kinetic movement.
La Licorne also has a central courtyard and patio.
The windows on to the courtyard, however, look out
through horizontally slatted bare wood. The idea
is that each facade both maximises the benefits of
natural light and gives the greatest protection from it.
The building’s interior is kept light partly through the
plan, essentially an enfilade. Using a series of open
spaces that can be linked as required also makes it
easier to allot office space for rental. The building is
intended to bring together innovators from different
disciplines. Its central patio is designed to encourage
meetings and act as common space.
‘On the programme level, we have retained a strong
desire to give workspaces maximum qualitative
conditions of light, circulation and potential meeting
between users,’ says the architect.
Rather than being uniform,
the facades of La Licorne are
designed to exploit the light
arriving from each direction