SMA was selected for the staging of the photographer Jonathan Mannion exhibition in Cognac, France

A chronological landscape

In the hip-hop culture, especially within lyrics, territorial references are in an abundance :hood, streets, area,  block, slums, camp, basement, sewer, projects, zone, ghetto, zoo, jungle

The connection of an MC to his territory is like a farmer to his own land; street credibility acts as quality control.

Bringing Jonathan Mannion’s work on a broader scale, our work has proceeded to merge itself with the matter of his photography, and to become a journey into the hip-hop planet.

In order to draw the map of this new world, we need to weave a yarn from all its threads. This yarn has to be an identity vector, a federating process, within a specific urban context.

What is more urban than the mythic New-York underground map?

NYC is synonymous with the rap world. It’s the birth place of rap and the most recognized reference around the world. It is a legitimate weight from day 1 in the collective hip-hop conscience.

And so our proposal articulates itself on the ‘lines’ and meridians to cross the generations of hip-hop, and creates an equation of time and space.

The staging will invite the visitors to travel throughout the neighbourhoods, cities, states and countries related to the artists, from Harlem to Marseille, from Compton to Seine-Saint-Denis.

The lines allows for a fluid transition, with as many optional paths as there are lines and intersections. Whereas an exhibition with walls would’ve imposed only one single path.

It’s a meeting in time and space connected to the very core of the artists and where they come from. As a whole, being inside Mannion’s prism creates a new topography, a new territory, a revolution around the globe frozen in time within the hip-hop scene.


  • Type: Concours sur invitation
  • State: Etude
  • Year: 2013
  • Client: HENNESSY
  • Area: 220m²
  • Team:  Studio Malka Architecture  I Tristan Spella Render
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