In western France, a historic biscuit factory has been transformed into a vibrant and thriving multipurpose contemporary arts and theater center. "The Unique Place" has turned out to be the perfect name for this enterprising venture.
The Lieu Unique: a background
The Lieu Unique has come a long way since its days as the main biscuit factory for Lefèvre-Utile, better known as LU. Although the biscuits are still very much in business, their headquarters moved elsewhere in the late 20th century, leaving the premises unoccupied. A major regeneration project brought the factory back to life and renamed it Lieu Unique, preserving the original initials of the building while utterly changing its purpose. Now in its fifteenth year, it's proud to call itself a factory that produces imagination.
In additional to the "atypical arts" center and modern theater featuring all types of music and dance, there's an on-site bar, restaurant, bookstore, day nursery and even an authentic Turkish bath. A warehouse-chic vibe has been preserved throughout the venue, with the central court retaining its historic canopy and the bar lit by bare bulbs suspended from the ceiling. This minimalism ensures that each space can become anything that an art project requires it to be, giving free reign to each artist's creative vision.
The colorful Lieu Unique tower, a remnant of the building's biscuit days, remains a major landmark in the city. From the top, you can look out over a 360° view of Nantes. If you're staying for dinner, the restaurant offers a delicious section of French food, including tartelette de curé nantaise and a duck confit.
The LU's theater is a nationwide tour venue that showcases more than forty performances throughout the year, including concerts, art exhibits, philosophical debates, circus acts and dance performances. Its packed schedule ensures that whenever you visit the city, you can rest assured that there'll be something to see here. It's also easily accessible, located an eight-minute drive from our Radisson Blu Hotel, Nantes.
Soul Journey, an exciting music performance from Singapore-based Siong Leng Musical Association is scheduled for May 13. You'll hear Nayin, the traditional music of what is today southeastern China, played on rare instruments such as the pipa, an instrument that bears some similarity to the lute.
Everything that is done under the sun, a contemporary exhibition, runs free of charge until May 17, 2015. Here you'll find a selection of 30 works from the Contemporary Art Fund of Geneva that spans more than 50 years of subversive modern art. It's constructed around Sadie Benning's German Song video, an experimental short film that explores themes of feminism and LGBT culture. Other artists include Abramovic and Ulay, Bastien Gachet, and Christian Robert-Tissot.
In July, the center will host Loud and Proud, a celebration of queer culture. The two-day festival incorporates rap artists, DJs, club nights and the 'Queerodrome', a pro-equality space that will serve as everything from a crafts center to a shop selling books, records, t-shirts and films.