Koezio by D’Houndt + Bajart Architects and Associates

Players shed their clothes and become immersed in the ‘underworld’.

LIEUSAINT – D’Houndt + Bajart Architects and Associates recently completed Koezio in Lieusaint, France. Koezio is an indoor playground that promises ‘amusement, architecture and entertainment’.

D’Houndt + Bajart made Koezio a gesamtkunstwert – total work of art – that serves to transport friends, families and colleagues to different dimensions. The company has developed a structure of five worlds – keymaze, speedspot, knowzone, wingway and verticaldrop – that challenge teams to solve mysteries while developing team spirit, confidence and self-transcendence. 

Façade treatments, colour, spatial arrangements, materials, furnishings, infographics, light and even the site itself all serve to create a space where, according to the architects, ‘people will get lost, groped, dazzled and agitated’.

The Koezio building is divided into two volumes which give clues about their programmes while ‘maintaining a certain mystery’ about the exact function of the buildings.

One volume is black, the other is white.

The volumes are different in terms of materiality and function, but are united by their cubic forms and illumined horizontal strips which signify the importance of light on the interior. The white volume houses service functions – a dining area, bar, lockers and seminar rooms. It has a concrete façade which interlocks with the black volume, and reveals its function in the storefront windows and entrance. The interior of the white volume has an industrial aesthetic, while also being light and airy. There are many elements in the interior which are kept from being overwhelming by the muted colour palette of whites and light greys with orange detailing. The interior of the white volume gives a hint of the hectic playscape to come, but manages to remain a calm and relaxed space.

The black volume houses the games hall and reflects the inner darkness and otherworldliness it contains. The industrial aesthetic of the interior is portrayed on the metallic façade, as is the disjointed character of the space inside. The interior of the black volume is chaotic. Blue, purple and red comprise the unsettling colour palette of the adults’ playground. The colours, lights and forms of the multi-layered room are aggressively energetic and demand action from anyone who walks in. The playscape has different levels – echoing the architectural structures of fictitious underworlds like Dante’s Inferno or Alice’s Wonderland – which can be seen from different vantage points. The openness of the plan makes sense of the chaos while also inundating the viewer with all the details of the space.
Light and darkness are important aspects of the interior spatial composition. The architects themselves say the space is defined by the ‘play of light and movement of the players in space’.

Once players complete the game, they emerge from the sensory inundation of the playscape to the calmness of the bar and café.

Photos courtesy of Julien Lanoo


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