Situated on the public square Place Graslin in Nantes, VERSUS is a temporary installation as part of the annual art festival Le Voyage à Nantes. Inspired by the relationship between form and balance established by architect Mathurin Crucy, who designed both the square and the theater in the late 18th century, the rink has been adapted to the irregularities of the ground and plays with its natural slope, giving the square a renewed sense of centrality, and opening it up to hours of fancy-free skating.
Measuring 38m in diameter, the main structure is made of prefabricated white concrete, while the rink track is poured-in-place white concrete.
Amblers and athletes alike can meet on the track inside the rink, which offers an opportunity to honour a lively and effervescent sport that has made a comeback in recent years: Roller derby.
Spectators can sit on the steps of the theatre – conveniently turned into bleachers – for an open-air match. The public can also sit at the edge of the installation, where benches invite everyone to contemplate and discover Place Graslin in this new light. The concept explores the relationship between the balanced proportions of the historic fabric, the divergent views, and the city’s social dynamics, providing inhabitants and festival visitors with a new open public space.
VERSUS also includes a service loaning out roller skates and rollerblades.www.levoyageanantes.frPhotos: Julien Lanoo.