This fantastically bright orange cube on the banks of the Saône River in Lyon, France may look like a giant toddler’s toy, but it’s actually an office and cultural center designed to showcase architecture and design and help invigorate the docks of the river. A giant hole cuts through the orthogonal, 5-story building, opening the center up with daylighting, views and natural ventilation. Designed by Paris-based Jakob + Macfarlane, Le Cube Orange is also energy efficient and relies on a water-based geothermal heat pump and photovoltaic panels on the roof. External structure – light facade, perforated in the form of small droplets.
The most noticeable element of the design – its bright orange shade – is an abstraction of lead paint, an industrial color often used for harbor zones. The external skin is a light facade, punctured with a pixilated pattern that resembles trailing droplets, a reference to the adjacent river’s flow. This porous envelope allows sightlines and natural daylighting while establishing a distinct identity for the building.