Fermob Gives Place de la République in Paris a New Look

After two and a half years of effort, the Place de la République recently revealed its new look at a ceremony attended by Bertrand Delanoë, the Mayor of Paris. The aim of the refurbishment was to decrease the traffic and to increase the attractiveness of the spot.

The architects from TVK were assigned with the reshaping of the place; for the furnishings they chose the “Luxembourg” collection by the French company Fermob. The range includes single and double armchairs, benches, children chairs and tables. The color of the furniture is a vivid poppy red. Many pieces are moveable so that people can change the look of the place as they like. Additionally to the design pieces there is also a game library that people can use for free, a nice idea to improve the social exchange in the city.

Further Information: fermob.com

Trees in Giant Flowerpots Green the Centre of Dijon

The classic Place Darcy in Dijon, France has undergone a major refurbishment. Giant Flowerpots have been placed above the new underground parking garage, half submerged in the square’s paving.

French landscape architect, Alfred Peter, is responsible for the innovative design. The classic square has been given a green layer, which is pleasing to the eye. An arboretum of 55 different trees in a geometric pattern has been created, the shade of which offers a pleasant retreat on hot days. The large flowerpots, with a maximum diameter of 240 cm, have been manufactured using bio composite with natural fibres. The rims of the pots form circular benches around the trees, offering the opportunity to sit down, which is especially useful near tram stations. The special Treetec® System combined with 3.5 m³ substrate allows the trees to fully develop in the urban climate.

The Giant Flowerpots are being produced by the Dutch company Streetlife, who also offer street furniture, tree products, bridges and decking materials for landscape architects. Founded by designer Peter Krouwel, Streetlife has offices in Scandinavia, Dubai and America.

Further Information: streetlife.nl


Amazon’s Headquarter Goes Green

Amazon’s plans for its new headquarters look like a futuristic utopia. A structure of three merged bio-domes with lots of plants in it will be built in front of the new main building in the centre of Seattle.

The intent behind the design is to create an alternative environment where employees can work and socialize in a more natural park-like setting. The facility will incorporate dining, meeting and lounge spaces and a variety of botanical zones modeled on montane ecologies found around the globe.

The design of the new headquarters was developed by NBBJ, who also designed the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The project is expected to start construction later in 2013 and could take up to eight years to finish.

Further Information: inhabitat.com and amazon.com

Superkilen: Copenhagen Park Project awarded

The district of Nørrebro is a multiethnic society in the northwest of the Danish capital Copenhagen. It is a vibrant place where many different cultures live peacefully next to each other. This quarter got the attention of architects, landscape designers and city planners all around the world: Its artistic refurbishment was awarded with the 2013 Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design by the American Institute of Architects.

Superkilen is a spectacular park project which was realized by the two architect companies BIG and Topotek 1 together with the artist group Superflex. The district has been divided into three zones, each with its own theme and color scheme. The square for markets, culture and sports is completely covered in shades of red. Streets, open spaces and house walls are shining in bright tones of pink, orange and crimson, turning a grey area into a lively dynamic spot. The zone with the most living areas is colored black with white lines winding through the streets. The largest part of the district is the green park area where hills and playgrounds invite families to spend their time.

There are one hundred different urban elements from over fifty countries placed throughout the whole district, for example a bench from Ethiopia, pipes from Israel and soil from Palestine. These everyday and free to use items are turned into exhibition pieces and represent the many different cultural heritages of the inhabitants.

The Jury of the American Institute of Architects commented on the award: “This project is a joy! This is not only original, but stunning to behold. It is noteworthy for its aesthetic approach, which is straightforwardly artificial rather than pretending to be natural.”

Superkilen is a city project which changed the looks of an otherwise very dull place into a vibrant and lighthearted area. It is cost effective and relatively easy to realize. The idea could be used as a model for other cities. 

Further Information: detail-online.com

From Grey to Green: Europe’s largest Sky Garden opens to the Public

An exciting project is developing in Berlin right now. In the middle of the densely populated German capital a group of volunteers are building Europe’s largest community roof garden on a parking deck. The 12.000 m² surface has not been used since 2003. 22 meters above ground level vegetables, fruits and herbs will be growing in the near future on euro pallets, in carton boxes and in rice bags.

Everybody can join in; there will be community beddings which can be cared for by groups of people and other lots which can be rent. The main idea behind the Himmelsbeet (Sky garden), as it is called, is that people are being brought together through working with natural resources and that city dwellers learn how to  produce own food from regional grounds. Schools and kindergardens can go there to teach the children about planting and growing, there will be workshops about gardening and even a café on the rooftop. The demand is high for such a project, there are already waiting lists for the beddings.

The project is depending on donations, the organization is non-profit based and needs support. The company Neudorff is donating soil and other materials.

The roof garden will be open for the public in May and the initiators are more than excited about. this europewide unprecedented gardening project ; if it were successful it could be a great example for other cities worldwide. 

Further Information:  Himmelsbeet / Neudorff