Confined by the walls of the Tours Aillaud, the viewer is invited to gaze through the porthole windows which frame snippets in time of the Parisian suburbs. For this project the focus shifts from the inhabitants to the interiors and the wondrous views from the porthole windows of Les Tours Aillaud. Laurent explains that photographing from such heights is a method for satisfying a series of questions: Why such shapes? What can be seen from up there? Answers could only be found by indulging his curiosity.
From his initial visit in 2011, Laurent recalls being impressed by the immense scale of the estate, explaining; “The facades immediately enthralled me…their exceptional aesthetics calling to mind an enigmatic military camouflage. I was extremely attracted by this singular area which clashes with the surrounding landscape.”
Les Tours Aillaud is a group of 18 residential towers located in Nanterre, Paris. Conceived by Émile Aillaud and built from 1973-1981, they were commissioned in response to the post-war housing shortage. Aillaud intended to stray from straight lines and regularities while the artist Fabio Rieti adorned the towers in an extensive colored mosaic. This approach intended to evoke modernity and innovation and has resulted in a nostalgic timelessness with otherworldly elements.
Upon his first visit to each apartment, Laurent recalls being sucked in by the inhabitant’s universe, intrigued by their unique spaces. Laurent sheds light on this dual focus, explaining that he is fascinated “both by the architectural venture as much as by its underlying utopian paradigm, I wish to invite the spectator to discover the intimacy of the housing and to find clues of human presence within this exceptional Grand Ensemble.”
Photography by Laurent Kronental