Seven emblematic city squares in Paris were chosen to be redesigned to give more space to pedestrians.
Les MonumentalEs collective composed with Emma Blanc Landscape Architect (project manager), Collectif Etc, Genre et Ville, Albert & Co, and Emmanuelle Guyard, undertook experiments in the squares of Madeleine and Panthéon.
ANALYSE : 03 > 06.2017
Uses and spatiality
“We carried out a sensitive analysis of the square. These observations and feedback, coupled with the historical and spatial dimension of the square, led us to develop of a sober, abstract and inclusive design layout.” In March 2017, we laid the first stones. At the same time, we built a kiosk that allowed us to be easily identified and in which people could stop, ask for information or give their opinion.
A sensitive and gender study
Introducing equality into the process of renewing public space is thus a change of paradigm, an innovative approach.
Our observations questioned the capacity of spaces to accommodate and welcome people, their physiognomy, their uses, actors in the space, as well as temporalities.
Materials : already there and re-use
The materiality of this place and composing with the existing elements of this emblematic place: the granite hardscape and the ornamental limestone of the facades was a crucial starting point given for this site. At the Centre for Materials and Supply, we found paving blocks, slabs, granite kerbs, but also the Mascarons (carved figures with masks) which once adorned Le Pont Neuf. Revalorizing and reusing them where appropriate.
ACT : CONSTRUCTION ACT 1 : 06 > 07.2017
A kind of 1:1 scale prototype that would support a physical and concrete discussion. Old kerbs presented simply on timber chocks as a raw material became functional seating and were arranged in a regular and orthogonal pattern. The timber platforms, added to the gridded arrangement of the granite blocks, are like large street furniture. The Mascarons found their place above the granite in response to the surrounding ornamental limestones facades.
Put in motion
We undertook all the site construction in-situ and engaged two companies specializing in social insertion. Nearly 550 hours of social insertion work was arranged. We created a tool for manoeuvring blocks of stone dedicated to this project. The “Translateuse” is manoeuvrable by 3 or more people and allows the displacement of material.
PROPOSE / OBSERVE : 07.2017 > 06.2018
Feedback on uses
Place du Panthéon, once freed up, contributes significantly to developing and displaying the high quality spaces. A place for life, stays, visits, strolling but also an articulation between the surrounding streets and neighbourhood. The table element is the only “object” apart from the granite blocks where we observed a large number of users who remain for longer than just a simple pause.
Convening the invisible
The great invisible symbolism of the Place du Panthéon is that the central Monument is dedicated to great men.
It seemed obvious to us, to initiate a project that reinstated the memory of women in general and their symbolic presence in public space. On July 1st, 2017, we organised a Monumental Feminist Memorial event, “Une Place à Soi” (A place for self). On the 1st of July, 2018, Simone Veil (French female lawyer and politician) “est entrée” (was enshrined) in the Panthéon. On July 1st, 2019, 200 women’s names has been inscribed on the new street furniture in the square, with others to follow.
REACT : CONSTRUCTION ACT 2 : 07.2018
“L’entrée” of Simone Veil into the Panthéon Monument reinforced the importance of a flexible approach. All the street furniture was easily removed and reinstalled for the second phase of construction in late July 2018. The enthusiastic feedback reassured us to persevere in the direction we had taken during the first phase, while also implementing a number of significant improvements.
In the rear two quarters of the Place du Panthéon, we wanted to introduce trees into the grid. Despite favourable pedology, permanent plantations have not yet been authorized by the architects managing the historic buildings of France. We have therefore opted to demonstrate by doing, by bringing trees in large planters into the square, with the desire to emphasize the relevance of a vegetative presence in this place. 40 trees now complete the composition while providing shade and freshness, in response to a strong demand expressed by all respondents.
« Perennial momentary »
Close to an artistic performance, this project has opened up a field of reflection on space, towards a finer and more sensitive notion of art in cities. In line with voluntary frugal interventions and materials, this process has sprouted other possibilities for design conception other than those of the composition, history, the traces … to express a poetic dimension.
Program: Co-conception, co-construction mission for the development of the Place du Panthéon.
– Recreate links between the Panthéon and the edges of the square.
– Make the square more welcoming and lively.
– Give more space to pedestrians.
– Provide new services in the public space.
– Improve co-use between different modes of transport.
– Rearrange the parking.
– Requalify spaces using vegetation.
– Reinforce accessibility for all users.
– Improve access for the neighbourhood
Entrant office name: Emma Blanc Paysage
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape architect (Emma Blanc)
Project category: Public Project
Other designers involved in the design of landscape: Collectif etc, Genre et Ville, Albert et Compagnie, Emmanuelle Guyard
Client: Ville de paris; Michèle Zaoui, Jean Christophe Choblet, Eric Debarle; Frédérique Martin-Bassi, Eric Leroy, Samuel Colin-Canivez – (D.V.D)
Ateliers de Ville de Paris: Centre de Maintenance et d’Approvisionnement (CMA): Eric Crespin, T.A.M. : Didier Garel, Joaquim Pereira, Jean-Marc; Carpenters : Patrick Forest
Project management: Les MonumentalEs
Landscape architect: Emma Blanc; project manager : Emmanuelle Blanc; landscape architect : César Bazin, Caroline Mercier, Solène M’Ba, Laure Verdier, Estelle Goutaudier, Laetitia Leinartz
Gender specialists: Genre et Ville; Chris Blache, Pascale Lapalud, Eloise Kling
Social insertion and sustainability: Albert et compagnie, Marc Sériés
Graphic artist: Emmanuelle Guyard
Infrastructure: Ville de paris
Reintegration companies: Travail et Vie, ESAT de la Bièvre
Contractors: Pépinière Verte Ligne – provision of trees, Metalflore – metal planters
Project location: Place du Panthéon 75005 PARIS – FRANCE
Surface area: 5000 m2
Design year: 2017
Year Built: 2017-2018
Photography: Philippe Ruault, Philippe Colin-Canivez, Collectif etc – Lucas Bonnel, Les MonumentalEs