The firm Emma Blanc landscape architects was founded in 2007, it operates like an open studio in which all contributors, be they landscape architects, graphic designers, architects, assistants or trainees, are encouraged to speak their mind. The creative process is an exchange of ideas unhindered by directing principles and precepts.
We choose to work on complex subjects in collaboration with other designers such as urban planners, architects, ecologists and artists, intersecting our knowledge with their expertise or technical specialties. The resulting conversation enriches our understanding of landscape while allowing us to respond to various challenges before us.
To create an environment conducive to the appropriation of public spaces by everyone, we embrace an interdisciplinary approach. Exhaustive and iterative, we adapt; changing our habits at all levels of government starting with ourselves. Each project is an experiment, for which the process is just as important as the results, the new environment, and the new ways of using that space. We strive to create inviting and open public spaces, our preferred medium. For us designing public spaces is a commitment fed by a sincere desire to better our shared living environment.
Every solution we offer carries with it a larger set of questions that we are constantly trying to answer.
More thinking for less wasting?
We are convinced by the need and the potential of reusing materials already onsite in our projects. We continue to work towards the inclusion of these materials in our projects without losing sight of their aesthetic consequences.
Our relationship with others and nature?
For many today, time flies, things slip away, the city moves ever more quickly, all the same certain things will always take time. We strive to slow down, to give nature sufficient time to grow into a real urban ecosystem in which the human is an actor.
Our approach is always case by case, always striving for the essential. We work to attain a simplicity that is connected to each site’s resources and actors.
We are fascinated by all materials that are a part of daily life; react to the light, to our senses and, to our bodies; materials that transcend the project site. Our approach encompasses the territorial analysis, the resources, and history of a place. Our projects are a balancing act between what is already there and an unknown potential. We are constantly obsessed with public spaces, their social dimension, infused with the daily life of the people who use them.
We are based in Paris. We work in all of France and soon all of Europe.
La Borie is a former agricultural property that was founded in the beginning of the 17th century. It is a place where the rolling landscape and exemplary architecture harmoniously blend together around the composition of music.
Two elements -water and stone- are the driving forces behind this project. They equally question its materiality. The water speaks to the topography, and the stone evokes the solidity and the built environment.
An interpretative path encourages visitors to discover the fusion of sounds and nature in this park. The landscape experience that this walk offers simply brings to light the rich local traditions that continue to be reinvented (ceramics) through sound and landscape installations.
The various levels of the landscape become apparent through both vibrant and restful places in the park: the theater of greenery, the willow thicket, the bamboo patch, the vegetable garden, the orchard, the flowering prairies, the resonating waterfalls, the musical oratory, the wood of music, the labyrinth and its sound games, the docks etc…
to the listener everything is engaging.
What is visible is the first to be perceived and is in the “conscience’s realm”. Then the discrete melody of water trickles into our thoughts. The invisible space of sounds takes form, and never leaves the visitor.
budget / 2 M€
area / 7 ha
delivery / 2013
With Moreau Kusunoki architects
An iconic public space
Of symbolic and strategic importance, the Paris Courthouse Plaza is a transformative force in its surrounding neighborhood. This new public space at the foot of the Renzo Piano designed building is pivotal in the larger metropolitan reflection on the “Grand Paris”.
The plaza spreads out in front of the 160-meter- high giant ; three rifts open in the its paved surface as though “tectonic movements” produced them. The dynamic and parallel interstices created by these openings harbor the vegetation and functional aspects of this new public space.
On the edge of each rift a bench rises 40cm above the ground level creating an urban seating space. The vegetation is organized according to two “regions” that create a comfortable and permeable space. Variations in the density and the type of tree canopy (metasequoia, ash, elm, maple and pine) and a dense herbaceous groundcover imbricated in the pavement, defines each “region.” A central stand of tall pines and metasequoia echo the buildings height and the tree planted terrace above. The pavement design is meant to encourage a “friendly porosity” creating a functionally diverse space that is convivial and visually reassuring.
budget / 5.4 M€
area / 1.5 ha
delivery / T1 in 2017
With Beckmann et N’Thépé architects
A study space linked to a wetland swale
As though emerging from the earth, the library establishes a frontal rapport with the landscape allowing it to seep beneath the building.
A wetland garden: a restored swale linked to a former farm, rings the buildings.
A paved walk brings us beneath the building to its entrance and a protected terrace. The reworking of the paved surfaces creates an intimate open air reading room. The wetland garden buffers this space from the outside environment, ensuring a calm sitting area.
Aside from its rainwater retaining functions the swale is a living ecosystem. A diverse population of plant species thrives on its banks according to the varying water levels: swamp iris, horse-tails, cotton-tails, guneras… Different floating plants such as water hyacinth, water lettuce and duckweed contribute to a better water quality.
Since 2012 the planted spaces have thrived thanks to ecologically minded management practices. Certain species have disappeared over time, while others have spontaneously replaced them. Despite the sites sterile surroundings that are of little ecological interest, the swale has come to harbor a diverse wetland ecosystem worth protecting.
budget / 1 M€
area / 2.2 ha
delivery / 2012
The project aspires to one of the founding themes of sustainability: to concentrate buildings to curb energy loss and capitalizing on the freed plots to create shared spaces. The underlying theme is to avoid urban sprawl, and the fragmentation of the landscape in an urban fabric that is already disparate.
The question of boundaries is essential to the project. The goal is to create a unique housing entity through the organization of private and collective plots with plurality and the creation of shared spaces in mind.
The projects defining public spaces are two walkways that make their way between the private plots. Planted on each side with variable thicknesses of vegetation, the walkway edges are adapted for the use of low picket fencing.
The common space that the walkways create have a multitude of possible functions: walking to and from home and parking, strolling along the stream, meeting with others, playing in a safe space, and taking advantage of a lively environment.
Of equal standing, the plots and common spaces collectively create an ecological entity. Tree species were selected for their small stature and their lobed and light foliage (birch, maple etc…) Cornus, Prunus, and twining vines were chosen for the shrub and herbaceous layers for their diverse flowering season and seasonal color.
budget / 850 000 €
area / 6500m²
delivery / 2012
with Puig Pujol architects
Maimat Square was a deteriorating urban housing complex. The complex was composed of long continuous five-storey housing blocks characteristic of the 1960’s urbanistic approach: a disaffected mall, undefined public spaces exclusively used for parking.
Architecturally and in terms of landscape, the urban renovation project has transformed the neighborhood spatially and in terms of functionality. Before it was insular and closed off to the outside, today it has become permeable and part of the larger public space.
Freed from the automobile, which has been relegated to the outskirts of the neighborhood, an outdoor market and a wooded park have become once again the thriving heart of activity in the neighborhood.
The renovation of the 1m layer of sterile topsoil was a precise and technical process, with the goal of regain its original fertility. To ensure the soil porosity of all spaces (dry garden) it was amended with compost and organic matter and then covered with crushed concrete.
A large part of the project is dedicated to wooded islands, that show the process of change in the vegetation over time. The islands were planted with young resistant species of plants in a 1m grid according to forestry techniques.
The project encourages the reuse of materials already onsite: ground concrete from demolition, cut tree trunks, concrete paving and metal safety rails from the mall, these elements create a new urban landscape vocabulary.
budget / 1.8 M€
area / 3.4 ha
delivery / T1 2013 – T2 2014