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Façade Made up of 9,250 Aluminum Discs

© by Giles Miller Studio

BBC Studios, the largest and most well-known name in TV production for the U.K., unveiled a new pavilion with a façade constructed of 9,250 recyclable aluminum discs. Installed in Cannes, France, for the annual TV market event MIPCOM 2019, the BBC Studios stand was comprised of two floors of flexible work and hospitality areas in order to accommodate the company’s business meetings and events during the market event. Inaugurating the BBC’s first new business space at the event in 20 years, the structure was fully funded commercially. The attention-grabbing facade was made entirely of aluminum scales angled strategically to let light in.

Design Collaboration

Many companies came together to create BBC’s impressive two-story stand. Universal Design Studio served as the design lead and interior designer for the project with overall direction from London-based Cheerful Twentyfirst. BBC needed a reusable building, so Stage One Creative Construction and Manufacture in Yorkshire, who has a history of fabricating impressive and innovative exhibition structures, was charged with the fabrication, construction, and design of the pavilion. The sculptural façade artistry came together with the help of Giles Miller Studio who manipulates light and materials to inform their creative aesthetic.

The Build Process

The aluminum façade being assembled at Giles Miller Studio.

Since the landmark structure is meant to be repurposed for future events, it had to be designed carefully with the feasibility of manageable set-up in mind. The resulting architectural feat looks like a permanent structure, but can be taken down, packaged, shipped, and re-installed anywhere in the world. The ability to install a structure of this magnitude in such a short amount of time required a systematic approach for Stage One across CAD, workshops, logistics and on-site. A comprehensive test-build informed the company’s on-site work, enabling them to deliver a complex design quickly. At their warehouse workshop, the initial design and construction was accomplished over an 18 month period, but took only six days to install in Cannes with people working around the clock to assemble it. According to Stage One, it is one of their largest projects yet, standing 7m in height, 35m long,  and 15m deep.

Function and Beauty

Giles Miller Studio considers the installation a seminal project that “fuses an iconic sculptural aesthetic with highly innovative architectural functionality.” The façade is made to be useful and beautiful at the same time. Consequently, the aluminum petals are a stunning sight to behold and also a mechanism to control the visual transparency of the building.

The angle of the aluminum discs manipulate the light and view seen from the interior of the pavilion.

The undulating façade was designed using vertical ribs of recyclable aluminum discs, each one on its own runner, to create a moveable 10 m opening along the top floor. At MIPCOM 2019, the façade opened to create an epic view overlooking the beach along Boulevard Croisette at Cannes. Only BBC Studios knows what view it may present next.


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