Located in the heart of Nantes along the Canal Saint-Felix from January 1st 2000,
the former factory LU has been living a second life at the rate of an atypical and
multidisciplinary arts center: le lieu unique.
National center for contemporary arts and music venue in Nantes, le lieu unique is a
space of artistic exploration and a convivial cultural ferment that mixes genres, cultures and audiences. Its credo : the spirit of discovery in different fields of art (visual arts, theater, dance, circus, music, literature, humanities, architecture, comics, art taste, etc..).
Led by Patrick Gyger, the lieu unique promotes the opening up of minds, the exploration of interstitial and marginal spaces and forms hybridization.
FROM 1895 TO 1985
In 1895, the Nantes-based biscuit makers Lefèvre-Utile (LU), famous
for their petit beurre cookies, built a factory on Quai Ferdinand-Favre to
develop new products.
The structure, made entirely of concrete and metal, was innovative for its
time and the two magnificent junction towers, which were added in 1909,
make it one of Nantes’ most iconic buildings.
FROM 1986 TO 1999
In 1986, and decades of expansion later, LU moved its production out of
the city centre. Little by little, its factories were destroyed and only the
annex of the Quai Ferdinand-Favre now remains standing.
As of 1989, artists (in particular, the Royal de Luxe theatre troupe)
began taking over the abandoned structure and turning it into a place of
In 1994, in this incredible abandoned building, the Centre de
Recherche et de Développement Culturel (CRDC) / a national center for
contemporary arts in Nantes, began to hold milestone cultural events:
Les Allumées Le Caire (1994) ; Trafics (1996-97) ; Fin de siècle (1997-98-
On the strength of these successes, Jean Blaise, Director of the CRDC
at the time, convinced the city of Nantes to preserve the building and
transform it into a new type of living cultural space, that could also be a
meeting place outside of exhibitions and performances.
In 1998, new restoration work began, conducted by Jean-Marie Lépinay
for the only remaining tower, as well as the rehabilitation of the factory by
January 1st 2000, le lieu unique was inaugurated and has become a
utopian living space where conviviality meets the most contemporary
forms of creativity, a space of artistic exploration, of cultural
effervescence that mixes genres, cultures and people.
LE LIEU UNIQUE IN A FEW STATISTICS
Every year, le lieu unique offers:
– over a hundred theatre, dance, and circus performances, as well as
concerts, philosophical debates, etc.
– over 200 days of exhibitions and residences for visual artists,
– major events (festivals, cultural trails, great debates, etc.) as well as
With nearly 600 000 visitors (of which, 150 000 spectators for the artistic
activities) le lieu unique must be experienced for anyone who wants to
put their finger on the pulse of la vie nantaise.