Design & Development

Sustainability to the fore at Populous-designed LDLC Arena

Images: Populous

Populous has hailed the recently opened LDLC Arena in Lyon as an example of its commitment to delivering “best-in-class” venues with a reduced impact on the environment.

LDLC Arena is France’s largest indoor arena outside of Paris and staged its first major event on November 23. A crowd of 11,354 turned out as new tenant, basketball team LDLC ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, fell to a narrow 101-100 defeat to Bayern Munich in the EuroLeague.

The arena has a capacity of 16,000 for concerts promoted by global entertainment group and non-exclusive commercial partner Live Nation, while it seats 12,000 for sporting events.

The arena has been designed by Populous, which was also responsible for the adjacent 59,186-capacity Groupama Stadium and Training Centre, completed in 2016. LDLC Arena is owned by OL Groupe.

Populous was awarded the contract to design the arena in July 2021, with Citinea, a subsidiary of Vinci Construction, overseeing the build. LDLC, the computer and technology stores owner, acquired naming rights to the arena in December 2021 as part of an eight-year deal.

LDLC Arena has been designed to respond “sensitively” to its surroundings, according to Populous. The outer veil of the arena features textured panels set at varied angles, which aim to soften the building’s outline and reduce its volume.

The venue is due to host between 100 and 120 events per year. As well as concerts and basketball games, it will stage futsal, tennis, esports competitions, large-scale seminars and trade shows. In April, it will host France’s first premium live WWE event.

The inside of the arena features a versatile modular seating tier system, comprising three stands facing the stage and a fourth that can be removed for sporting events. This allows for an adjustable capacity ranging from 6,000 to 16,000.

Jump Studios, Populous’ interior design arm in the EMEA region, designed LDLC Arena’s premium hospitality spaces, players’ changing rooms, artists’ dressing rooms, and offices. Jump Studios has previously worked with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and Co-op Live.

Populous has also placed sustainability at the heart of LDLC Arena’s design, optimising the layout of the internal spaces to minimise the footprint of the venue and reducing the volume of building materials needed.

The shell of the arena features an innovative double skin, which helps regulate the temperature and minimise the need for climate control systems. The venue is able to generate its energy with 5,500 square metres of photovoltaic panels on the main roof, while 30% of the total area surrounding the venue will be green space. A scheme has also been launched to plant hundreds of mature trees and a large bird reservation to the north of the site.

Elizabeth Miglierina, LDLC Arena project lead at Populous, said: “Sustainability is a key focus of the LDLC Arena design. This large-scale, ambitious venue in one of France’s biggest cities demonstrates Populous’ commitment to delivering best-in-class venues with a reduced impact on our environment. As designers, we are sharing our vision of creating spaces for people and the planet.”

Francois Clement, senior principal and leader of Populous’ business operations in France, added: “We’re excited to deliver our second venue for Lyon alongside Olympique Lyonnais Groupe. Leading on the arena and interior design with our interiors practice, Jump Studios, Populous was able to extend the Groupe’s ambitious OL Valley venture by providing a venue that responds to the local community. Set to attract some of the best talent in live entertainment, LDLC Arena will become a cultural hub and a significant asset to the city.”