Jean Nouvel designed the Berlin version of the famous Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette. The project was a part of the revitalization of Friedrichstrasse which used to be a street for luxurious shopping and entertainment in Berlin before WWII, but was defunct as a border zone used by the military during separation of Berlin. Today it has regained its former status not the least thanks to successful projects like Jean Nouvel's department store. Here is what Jean Nouvel has to say about its architecture:
"The presence of a department-store on a major throughway should be an event and be attractive. The passer-by should feel called out-to on the pavement. The shop, itself a public interior space, should extend the public exterior space of Friedrichstrasse. The reading is through depth and layering. From the street, the space at ground level is free, devoid of any wall. The dematerialisation of the corner allows motorists or pedestrians to see cones of light, of which the larger one quivers, vibrates, flashing rays of colors. The reading of the structure of the spaces on different levels is simple. It allows each person to know at any given moment where they are and where they are going. The two big mirrored cones in the central space are objects of fascination, where according to different themes, messages and images race across surfaces, and using an inverted process of anamorphosis, a precise image deforms and invades the ensemble of mirrored surfaces. These moving, deformed image-messages are completed by other perfectly controlled and precise images on two big screens, on Friedrichstrasse and Französische Strasse. The screen-printed façade in the progressive mirrored grids allows signs to appear through triangular halos (resonating with the cones) or rectangular halos (formatted to the screen)."
On the interior: "The offices are perforated by cones of white light, actually interior lighting. The floors are sprinkled with transparent glass blocks around the cones, becoming progressively more opaque.
Geometry and light create this architecture with infinite variations, linked to time, the hour of day, and to the nature of programmed images. It is halfway between abstraction and figurative, artificial and natural light. We wanted to create a game, a subtle, scenographical tool as a motor for seduction, questioning the shown and hidden, the dark and light, the intelligible and sensitive. It alights one of the first lamps of Friedrichstrasse's renaissance."