Bleak France: Eric Tabuchi's architectural photography
October 15, 2019 8:28 AM   Subscribe

Eric Tabuchi lives and works in Paris, and captured abandoned clubs around France (Design You Trust) in Discothèques, 2016. [via MltShp] Tabuchi has additional collections of stark and sometimes decaying features: symmetry in Ville Nouvelle, barriers in Restricted Areas, upright elements in Éléments verticaux, concrete poetry in Infrasculpture, stairways to nowhere in particular in Architecture d'entraînement, and a surprisingly large collection of Vertical Pools.
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Many of those don't even look abandoned so much as just closed for the day. Somehow, dance clubs manage to seem super sketchy in daylight.

The towers in Architecture d'entrainement are very interesting. Are they mostly observation towers? For observing what? A couple of them seem like they might be hose towers for fire stations.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:35 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


I'm kinda bummed these all seem to be exterior shots. I was hoping for some UrbEx type shots of the interiors in their current states.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:46 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


I've always wondered about these discotheques in non-urban France. You find them, oh, 3 kilometers out of the nearest town of 30,000 inhabitants, in regions with maybe 100,000 people in an hour's drive. In the US, it's a porno shop / video arcade that gets built in places like this, or maybe an old school roadhouse bar (in the days of drinkin-and-drivin). Who goes to these discos? Were they ever popular? Was it a big scene with the young people on a Friday night?
posted by Nelson at 9:58 AM on October 15 [4 favorites]


> Many of those don't even look abandoned so much as just closed for the day. Somehow, dance clubs manage to seem super sketchy in daylight.

I thought that too. Few things are as dowdy and worn-looking as a nightclub in daylight.

That said, I would totally convert The Lem into my secluded hilltop getaway resort. That is, assuming it was already secluded on a hilltop, and it doesn't look like it.
posted by ardgedee at 10:11 AM on October 15 [1 favorite]


Who goes to these discos?

Believe me, you don't want to know. (The one that's literally an abandoned warehouse with "Discothèque" slapped on it is especially hair-raising. Partly because I'm sure I've driven past it at some point.)

I dig the Easter-Island vibe of Vertical pools.

The title of the post made me laugh since "bleak" is precisely the adjective my friends and I used repeatedly during our urbanism degree to describe places (or non-places) like these in semi-rural France. Joke's on us, because they are at least 50% of what we deal with on a day-to-day basis in our respective jobs.
(GOD THE WEIRD SEPIA TONED REFLECTIVE OFFICE WINDOWS, EVERYWHERE, GOD, WHY.)

Good on Tabuchi for documenting these objects and their surrounding landscapes, which inform the lives of many more millions of French people than I think anyone wants to admit, and taking them seriously. He's maybe not asking us to see them as beautiful, but at least as being as worthy of consideration as zinc roofs and Gothic cathedrals.
posted by peakes at 10:37 AM on October 15 [6 favorites]


Who goes to these discos? Were they ever popular? Was it a big scene with the young people on a Friday night?

Yes, if my high school French textbook is to be believed people used to casually suggest going to the discothèque in pretty much any social interaction.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 10:45 AM on October 15 [8 favorites]


I found The Lem on Google Streetview, and this one is definitely closed for good (for now?) Not so much a mountaintop retreat, as it is giving the "light house in a forest" vibe.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:05 AM on October 15


When I hear the word "disco", I would never think to picture a free-standing old warehouse way out into the county.
posted by octothorpe at 12:34 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


> I found The Lem on Google Streetview, and this one is definitely closed for good (for now?) Not so much a mountaintop retreat, as it is giving the "light house in a forest" vibe.

Huh. I googled the "chambon sur jeep 2018 partenaire" that's papered over the first floor windows and found this website for a Jeep weekend gathering, so I guess the building's being rented out for events rather than being completely abandoned.
posted by ardgedee at 12:48 PM on October 15 [2 favorites]


A couple of them seem like they might be hose towers for fire stations.
As the name implies ("architecture for training"), these "buildings" are used to train firemen.

Who goes to these discos? Were they ever popular? Was it a big scene with the young people on a Friday night?
There have been many articles in the past decade about the decline of the rural discos in France (a phenomenon that French photographers find esthetically appealing apparently). The golden age of the discos was the 1970-80s: half of them (or 2/3 according to other sources) have closed in the past 30 years. Many reasons have been proposed. One is that rural population is aging and less likely to spend a night at the local Macumba. According to the French association that collects music rights, the typical playlist is actually stuck in the 1970-80s: today the most played song in discos is Claude François' Alexandrie Alexandra, a hit from 1978. The second one is Patrick Hernandez' Born to be alive, from 1979. Another reason is that regulations about noise, safety, smoking, alcohol sale and alcohol consumption are stricter (French country roads - narrow, dark - have killed lots of drunk youngsters driving back from the disco). But the main reason seems to be that discos are no longer appealing to the younger generations. When they appeared in the 1970s, rural discos replaced the traditional village dance held on Saturdays and Sundays, which was a common way for young people to party and to meet/date (and occasionally fight...) other people. Today, people are more likely to party at home with their friends thanks to social network, or to go to venues with more recent music, such as music bars and free parties. And they'd rather use apps for dating.
posted by elgilito at 3:51 PM on October 15 [12 favorites]


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