Édouard François (b. 1957), Cheminée végétalisée [Vegetated chimney], stainless steel, copper, chestnut poles, plants, 2004
As soon as it was built in the 1970s, the utilitarian ventilation chimney in the basement of the Esplanade was frescoed. However, its concept ended up becoming anachronistic in view of its immediate surroundings, and in particular its prestigious neighbour: the Cœur Défense complex. Unibail, the promoter of the operation, therefore decided to implement a more contemporary project, which became a work of artwork combining copper, wood and hundreds of plants.
This lively and touching island is 16 metres high, with a wide base measuring 7.5 by 12 metres.
Other artworks from the La Défense collection are also supported by air vents:
- Mosaïque and Vive le vent by Michel Deverne;
- Le Moretti by Raymond Moretti;
- Les Trois Arbres by Guy-Rachel Grataloup;
- Cheminées by Philolaos Tloupas;
Born in Paris in 1957, Édouard François has embarked on a resolutely contemporary architectural path that favours integration with the environment and sustainable development. His artwork is presented in the greatest museums such as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Guggenheim in New York and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
An innovative architect, he mixes the mineral of cities with the vegetation of the fields. He erases the boundary between landscape and architecture, to the point of using plants as building materials, with the complicity of botanist Patrick Blanc.
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