The inhabitants of the cities of Antibes and Sophia Antipolis have been having only one word in their mouth for the past few months: Ecotone. All real estate developers in the area are struggling to imagine what this project will look like once it's up and running. So, what is Ecotone, the new real estate project that will come out of the ground at Trois Moulins (Three Mills) in a few years? Below are different elements of answer.
Ecotone, innovative real estate project in Sophia Antipolis
Real estate project announced at the 2019th MIPIM
From the 12th to the 15th of March, at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, the largest Marché International des Professionnels de l’Immobilier (MIPIM) was held. This worldwide event, unique for its scale and its significant power of attraction, was the occasion to learn more about the project that has fascinated the region for some time. After waiting several months, visitors and professionals have finally discovered the Ecotone model, a real estate project that should be finished by 2023 in the city of Antibes.
Les Trois Moulins is a highly symbolic landmark in the area of Sofia Antipolis, as it is the first zone of the technopole that can be seen and crossed when arriving from Nice or Italy by the A8 motorway. In short, by choosing to implant ‘Ecotone’ in this area, its creators have the ambition to make it the gateway to Sophia Antipolis for the vast majority of those who live or go there every day. It is therefore a great responsibility, as it represents the largest technopole in Europe.
Green real estate is at the heart of the project
If we were to find a synonym for Ecotone, it would certainly be the word ‘edge’. In the dictionary, an ecotone designates a transition space between two different types of landscapes, such as a desert and a forest for example. The real estate project Ecotone therefore leaves no doubt about its future function: it will be a space of multiple transitions, between city and forest, nature and urbanism. Beyond linking the spaces thanks to its geographical position, Ecotone personifies those links in its structure.
Forming an impressive 26-meter tall green vessel, Ecotone's walls and terraces are covered by plants from the region, especially lavender. These provide the building with a deep and sparkling colour in summer, somewhere between purple and mauve. At the sight of the project model, some inspired observers have compared Ecotone to some landscapes from the Avatar movie, or to a real life representation of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
An ecological architecture project led by Jean Nouvel and Manal Rachdi
This pharaonic project, which will come to life on a plot of land with an estimated value of 44 million euros, is the result of a collaboration between many architects and investors. Philippe Journo's company has been the principal catalyst of the whole project. Specialised in ecological architecture, this company is at the origin of the ‘Atoll’ project in the city of Angers.
This time, Philippe Journo decided to partner with two inseparable creators from the new French architectural landscape scene. First, there is Jean Nouvel, a living legend of contemporary architecture and a human showcase promoting a made in France urbanism abroad. He designed, among others, the Glòries Tower in Barcelona, the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. He also received the Pritzker Prize in 2008, the equivalent to the Nobel Prize for architecture.
To design Ecotone, he chose to collaborate with Manal Rachdi from OXO Architects, a young "bio builder", author of the project Mille Arbres, figurehead of the Grand Paris.
Finally, in order for Ecotone to make a lasting contribution to the local flora, the two architects created a partnership with Jean Mus, a renowned Mediterranean landscaper.
A modern and ecological real estate project open to the world
Beyond its strategic framework and its innovative signature, Ecotone should brand itself in the region as one of the most dynamic poles of the tertiary sector. Its 10,000 square meters will be part of a green park and will mainly accommodate offices and hotels, but also restaurants and a large car parks.
All this should generate the creation of between 3,000 and 4,000 additional jobs in the region. But with its idyllic setting and, above all, the privileged access it will offer on the French Riviera, Ecotone aims to attract the biggest names in the sector from around the world. By becoming the modern and ecological face of Sophia Antipolis, the city of Antibes hopes to become an international showcase for French technology, while seducing its partners with its sustainable and responsible economic ambitions.