Place Centrale de Nice

A new cultural crossroads

Date : March 2015
Location : Nice, France
Collaborators :
Huang Li Yu / Experience Design
Julie Howell/ Spatial Design
Mamiko Yamazaki / Graphic Design
Yaqi Zhang / Digital Entertainment


Nice is one of France’s largest cities and despite its image as the hotspot of the French Riviera actually an old, extremely proud, hardworking and sometimes-tumultuous metropolis. Beyond the famous Promenade and its glitzy hotels and restaurants lies a city with immigration problems, quite high crime, and a strong far-right political party, but also a city of small people, stubborn but open at the same time.

This city is a crossroads for northern Europeans are coming to holiday or live there and immigrants from Corsica, the Maghreb as well as Africa. We are asked to research the train station (Gare de Ville Nice) square and develop a design strategy and spatial intervention that creates interaction between these two constituencies in a positive and active way.  



Our location, ‘Gare de Ville Nice’ train station, train tracks and its elevated highway create a physical barrier between Niçoise North and Tourist South areas of the city although the train station is geographically located in the centre of the city.

Also, various desk researches proved that most of government development plans have been focused on the southern areas of the city from the station which have lots of tourism. Add to this conflict, further field researches, interviews, and our experimental interventions developed our ideas of getting an insight of this diverse city.


Proposal : Place Centrale de Nice 

We suggested ‘Place Centrale de Nice’ that public square as our design suggestion. This place located just behind of the Gare de Nice(train station) that has been abandoned and under the highway. The huge elevated high motorway has been a big scar of the city and its shadow make under parts of area look dark and gloomy. However, ‘Place Centrale de Nice’ change this negative physical element to the positive factor of the city.

Place Centrale de Nice would be an opportunity for both Nice residents and tourists from all over the world discover the deeper understanding about the city, while the both groups people influence positively and economically each other.



Nice_a Cultural Crossroads-8Location of the Place Centrale de Nice, disused land just to north of station accessed by road, tunnel and from the station.

Nice_a Cultural Crossroads-9Plans


Nice_a Cultural Crossroads-10Spatial zoning and visitor wayfindings


Nice_a Cultural Crossroads-13(sources from enjoymyview, Peri(pheral) Scopes)

camera-obscure_(sources from Seaside Camera Obscura, Camera Obscure World)

One strong factor we found that Nice people are really proud of their city, especially its splendid scenery. Therefore, we suggest to install the special periscopes and the camera obscure room in the immersive activity zone of Place Centrale de Nice, that will give the greatest chance to discover more beautiful spots of Nice toward all types of visitors.

In food business and eating zones provide pop-up shops which sell products and foods made in Nice. Using the existing railway of the location, these would be the mobile shops. Also, in the cultural activity zone offer temporary music concerts in summer, so it will encourage the active and lively atmosphere.


Strategy of Centrale de Nice 



nice_a-cultural-crossroads-17 nice_a-cultural-crossroads-18

Nice_a Cultural Crossroads-19


Following storyboard explains how two different audience groups experience and enjoy Place Centrale de Nice.