MOHD interviews: Patrick Nadeau and the green wave that will invade Paris
Urban gardens, vertical forests, shared gardens: will green perhaps reshape our cities? It is what the French architect and designerhopes that the "urbanization" has made his manifesto. And with good reason, because the need to restore a balance between man and nature is under everyone's eyes. Let us not forget, moreover, that man is himself part of a natural system and is therefore reasonable, believing that the time has come to find new ways to welcome it in the cities and homes. It is a challenge of considerable importance, for centuries man has built to protect himself from nature, and from other men, erecting buildings and urban spaces in which to feel safe, protected from the most intense and violent manifestations of nature. But this design to protect itself has turned into design against, attacking an ecosystem that has weakened to the point of becoming marginal. What to imagine, today, to restore harmony between built and green? Certainly we cannot think of razing cities and returning to living in huts, so we need an innovative vision that puts architectural innovation at the service of a new idea of city and home where green finds the space necessary to exist and allow us to exist well. Patrick Nadeau tells us his idea, also in view of the great project of vegetating the Gare d’Austerlitz in Paris.
Why, in your opinion, have we managed to shut ourselves in our homes (and our cities), leaving out nature?
It is a difficult question, and it is not easy to give an answer. Houses are born to protect man from nature's most violent and dangerous manifestations, and this is probably the root of the phenomenon. But it is also closely linked to the productive system of the present world.
And why, instead, should we reopen a channel of communication and coexistence with nature? I don't think we have any other choice. The reasons are manifold and are transformed into multiple ways of reintroducing green into our cities. First of all, from nature, new materials can be used to build. Furthermore, nature is beauty and helps to improve in the comfort of an environment. There is, of course, the ecological aspect, which, going beyond ideology, must take into account the specific functions of certain plants.
The house is a closed environment to the natural context, how can we make it instead permeable and open to it?
As we said before, houses were born to protect man from nature that can be very hostile and dangerous. So from this point of view, bringing nature back into the house is a bit like putting the wolf in bed, it can be very dangerous. But when we put plants in the house, we have no wolf, no lion, at most a few flys. In my opinion, rather, we must think of cities where the architecture is a garden. As intermediate spaces between home and nature. In which to mix and bring together houses and nature. So today, we need to organize nature, to use it as a building material.
Speaking of home, how did the Plant Sac and Plant Bag project developed within 2011 come about?
Authentics called me and asked me to work on a system that would allow the interiors of the house to be vegetalized easily. I went to their factory and found a fabric with which we created a bag in which we inserted a watertight lining filled with expanded clay granulate that prevents stagnation and releases a uniform amount of moisture. They can be placed on the floor, at the window, on a table and in the suspended version they can be combined to create a plant wall at home, easily and not too expensive.
Is the vegetalization of the house as important as the vegetalization of the city?
I believe that the really important game is the vegetalization of the city, there are many more things at stake is the most interesting and important work of our age. At home, vegetalization is important because it is pleasant, but it is not as vital as in the city.
What is the most important project you are currently working on?
The Gare d’Austerlitz, in Paris, which will be completely transformed and the promoter wants all parts of the station and even its neighborhood to be affected by a plant-development project. This is a very complicated project and on which there is still the greatest reserve. And we expect 5 or 6 more years of work.
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