Métaphone in Oignies: music replaces coal at the 9-9bis mine site.

Métaphone in Oignies in the Hauts-de-France region, symbolises the redevelopment of the 9-9bis pit. This former mining site, where coal was extracted between 1933 and 1990, is the focus of a project dedicated to musical practices and to heritage appreciation. In 2013, Métaphone was established at the pit entry and became a performance space playing the role of a musical instrument thanks to its façades that produce and broadcast sounds to the outside. In 2016, the former shower room was transformed into a dance stage, an auditorium, and rehearsal studios. This redevelopment is geared towards amateur and professional performers, individuals and a school audience, and also to locals.

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On the repurposed former mining site 9-9bis in Oignies, Métaphone was established in the pit entry building © Alice Gonsolin for 9-9bis On the repurposed former mining site 9-9bis in Oignies, Métaphone was established in the pit entry building © Alice Gonsolin for 9-9bis

" The Métaphone is an iconic space: it is a contemporary building at the former entry to a pit, whose machinery building has been classified an historic monument. The location, which hosts current and popular music concerts, was immediately embraced by the public "

Justine Flahaut is in charge of communications at 9-9bis

Saved from destruction thanks to its classification in 1994 as an Historical Monument, 9-9bis was bought from Charbonnages de France in 2003 by the urban community of Henin-Carvin. Since 30 June 2012, the pit entry has been included on the UNESCO world heritage list under the section "cultural evolutionary landscape".

Its redevelopment was designed according to the "chain of musical practices” concept. Each redeveloped place invites music in the form of practical sessions, education, creation or dissemination. Original interactions between music and heritage are encouraged.

Métaphone can accommodate 500 to 1 000 people. Each year, local, national and international artists perform between 35 and 45 concerts there. The originality of the performance space is in the instruments (organs, drums, xylophones, cymbals, rain sticks, etc.) placed on the external walls, which initiate the creation of sounds and new musical forms. Designed by the Hérault-Arnod architectural firm and by journalist, musician and sound designer Louis Dandrel, the Métaphone is covered in wood, Corten steel, and both transparent and frosted glass.

The shower room, also repurposed, provides more space. An Auditorium accommodating up to 100 people offers shows for a young audience and aims to accommodate regional groups. It is also designed to provide space for rehearsals and training. The "hook room", where the miners hung up their clothes on hooks, has been converted into an exhibition space. Six studios have been created where amateur and professional musicians can practise.

The Balatum measures 82m2 and is a space for physical movement; it is dedicated to forms of expression in the field of urban cultures, as well as interdisciplinary music/dance or dance/heritage projects as part of residencies. The old boiler rooms provide space dedicated to companies and to hosting seminars.

The redevelopment has been a great opportunity to revive the site, while valuing its mining heritage and associated memories. A heritage trail will allow for better understanding of the history of the various sites. In fact, the third phase of the project involves the machinery building, which will house a museum trail about how the mine functioned, as well as a café-concert.

Total investment and EU funding 

The “Métaphone à Oignies: 9-9bis, après le charbon, la musique” project [Métaphone at Oignies: 9-9bis, after the coal comes the music”] has received total investments of EUR 6 106 578. The European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 2 548 876 under the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Competitiveness and Employment Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment comes under Axis 4, territorial component, and Priority 5 “Support projects aimed at territorial excellence”. 


Draft date