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Maison des Métallos

Posted on November 13, 2009 by VINGT Editorial

mdm-escalier Text: Anna Bromwich

Maison des Métallos is perhaps best described as a cultural venue with a social conscience. It’s various spaces stage exhibitions, theatre and concerts with strong political themes and host creative workshops for young and old alike. The Maison also holds public debates, philosophy lectures and collaborative events with local associations. It also supports creative and research projects which establish links with the local community.

This Brechtian mixture of the cultural used for social purpose befits a building which started life during the industrial revolution as the first factory to manufacture brass musical instruments. In 1936 it became the headquarters of the steelworkers union, thus inaugurating its current name. Until 1997, when the Mairie de Paris bought it, Maison des Métallos ran syndicate meetings, trade workshops for the disabled and unemployed and a clinic in much the same community spirit as it’s contemporary incarnation.

The project of creating this hybrid venue was handed to Gérard Paquet, Vincent Brossy and the organisation Planete Emergences who were to work together to make the space relevant.

Brossy took the 19th century industrial building into a new era, carving a 300 seat auditorium, a large rehearsal space under glass, audio and visual studios into the factory floors. In the old entrance hall and the mezzanine café multi-coloured sheets of glass and fluorescent lights mingle with original details such as the arabesques in the iron structure.

The Maison des Métallos is more than just a venue – rather, it is a complex of relationships between artists, community partners and the local residents.  It was these residents who fought for the Mairie to buy this building before the developers in order not to lose what is now an integral part of their local history. Today this socio-cultural centre which boasts revolutionary flair is a testament to that history.

Maison des Métallos
94 Rue Jean Pierre Timbaud, 11th
Ph: 01 48 05 88 27
Metro: Couronnes (2), Parmentier (3)