two-layer ETFE cushion roof

lyon confluence shopping & leisure complex - 22,000sqm ETFE cushions

Lyon is known for its annual ”Fêtê des Lumières”. But now a different body of light has been built on a former industrial site in the district of Confluence, where the Saône flows into the Rhône – the Lyon Confluence leisure and shopping centre. The narrow west end of the elongated plot borders the River Saône. A man-made pool, fed by the river, forms the boundary on the longer northern side.

The site is divided by a railway line parallel with the river, a feature that the architect, Jean Paul Viguier, has used to best effect: to the west of the railway, in the direction of the river, is where the partly open shopping facilities and shopping mall are located; on the eastern, shorter, side there are taller, more compact structures housing leisure facilities such as multiplex cinema, roller dome, indoor climbing arena, etc. Forming a visual link between the two parts is the heart of the design, the enormous illuminated membrane construction, the two parts of which rise above the complex like an umbrella. 

  • The gently curving roof spans the full width of the site on the eastern, narrow, side and tapers towards the river. It also decreases in height in this direction. The result is a truncated cone. The railway line cuts through the seven bays of the membrane roof such that two bays span over the leisure facilities, five over the shopping zone. The roof structure is supported by 36m high steel columns which carry the trussed arches of steel circular hollow sections. Between these, further similar arches run in two diagonal directions.

    On plan the roof is therefore a network of rhombuses and triangles which determine the shapes of the two-layer ETFE cushions by seele cover. The ETFE cushions are framed by aluminium sections on all sides which are fixed to steel channels. These are in turn raised 2m above the arch structure. The LED lighting to the roof – in all the colours of the rainbow – is a spectacular effect. The light from the LEDs mounted on the transverse axes is reflected by a pattern of white dots printed on the underside of the top layer of foil. In order to find the right pattern and colour for the dots, seele carried out large-scale lighting tests outdoors at its headquarters in Gersthofen. So now in the Confluence, the ”Fêtê des Lumières” can be celebrated every evening.

    Images: © seele / Matthias Reithmeier


Client Unibail-Rodamco
General contractor PITANCE (Vinci) / SOLGEC (Eiffage)
Architect Jean Paul Viguier
Engineer ARCORA
Date of completion 2011
Scope of seele supply
  • 22,000sqm double layer ETFE-cushions
  • Dimension of the cushions: 22m x 5m
  • Thickness of ETFE-film: 250μm