On Tuesday, September 10, 2013, as part of Paris Design Week (9th – 15th September 2013), Patrick Blanc’s L’Oasis D’ Aboukir will be inaugurated. It’s a huge vertical garden/green wall of the type that the artist and botanical researcher has been installing, developing and perfecting since the installation of his Mur Vegetal (Paris) in 1986. Nicknamed “The Green Man”, Blanc is arguably the inventor of the green wall, and has worked his magic indoors and out around the world with such “A-list” architects as Andrée Putman, Jean Nouvel, Herzog & de Meuron, Renzo Piano, and César Pelli.
About this project, he says, “I am very happy to contribute to the welfare and environmental awareness among residents of a historic district in the heart of Paris. The installation took place under optimal conditions in just seven weeks and has enjoyed the best planting times, which are March and April.”
Outstandingly socially and environmentally conscious, Blanc is passionate about biodiversity, continuously exploring in search of new plants with which to paint his titanic canvasses. He says that this wall is unique in his career, although he has produced living walls in the desert (Bahrain) and at high altitudes in Sydney (150m) and Kuala Lumpur (200m), which he says are the most challenging spaces to vivify.
This is a private initiative, although its positive effect on public space is undeniable. 7600 plants, representing 237 species and varieties cover 250 square metres of a 25 metre tall gable (vertical supporting) wall. The wall overlooks a triangular public space bordered by Montorgueil, Reaumur Sebastopol and Great Boulevards. The area has been described as “ossified”, literally, turned to bones; Hard, cold, grey and lifeless. A small public square has also been created. This follows a worldwide trend toward designing urban spaces for pedestrians, following design for cars throughout most of the 20th century. Without taking up precious urban square footage at ground level, the wall will absorb excess rainwater before it floods the city’s sewer system, produce oxygen amid the city’s pollution and smog, mitigate temperature extremes indoors and out, and function as the focal point of a new gathering place, a neighbourhood beauty spot.
The last project that Blanc did for the Parisian public was “Plant Folies” at the Espace Electra in 2006. It was extremely well received, garnering a record-breaking attendance of 135,000 visitors. His installation at The Museé du Quai Branly in Paris boasts a Lush 40 foot high green wall which is 650 feet long.