PETIT BAIN

Petit Bain is a curious little barge commissioned by the non-profit group Guingette Pirare. It recently docked on the quai of the Seine in front of the France’s distinguished Bibliothèque National François Mitterrand.

Petit Bain, a piece of floating cultural infrastructure designed on a skinny budget by Nicolas Delon and Julien Choppin of Encore Heureux, is equipped with a concert hall, multimedia studio, restaurant, bar, office, terrace, and vegetable garden. The program is dual. Yes, there is leisure. Here you can dance, or learn to dance, eat, draw, garden, and fix your bicycle. You can listen to slam and music. You can watch swimmers work on their breast stroke in the floating pool next door. But, then, there is enterprise. The Petit Bain provides training and assistance to a labor force in transition, easing reinsertion into an unapologetically competitive economic landscape. In the past, Guingette Pirare had used refurbished barges for the hybrid cultural and economic programming. But as their project took on a more permanent logic, they secured funding for a new home. The floating cultural venue is an upgrade and a meta-appropriation in an ode to the agency’s former mode of organization. Plus, the yellow is perfect.

– Melissa Bonfil