PARIS: L'Oasis d'Aboukir - Neighbourhood Project by Patrick Blanc

Exactly in time for the start of the annual Paris Design Week from 9 to 15 september Patrick Blanc has finished his project "The Oasis of Aboukir. It covers a huge blind wall at Rue d'Aboukir corner Rue des Petits Carreaux in a neighbourhood traditionally dedicated to fashion and textile. The project is sponsored by local enterprise - and it shows at its best the place and the context of the work of Patrick Blanc. It is a real piece of art. It is an eye catcher, flourishing, attracting tourists and upgrading a whole neighbourhood: as a shopping area, as a residential area and and with all this it is good for the local urban climate and environmental conditions.
"I am very happy to contribute to the welfare and environmental consciousness of the inhabitants of a historic district in the heart of Paris," says Patrick Blanc.


7600 different plants are placed up to a high of 25 meters, covering an ugly blind wall. Different from his beginning - Patrick Blanc  started with jungle plants in inside situations and developed this approach step by step to outside situations - Patrick Blanc now is endeavoured to use plants which play a role in the biodiversity of their natural context of the region. He calls the "Oasis of Aboukir" a hymn of biodiversity.

Projects as this are marvellous. They are highlights in the city. Therefore the community has to bring the offer of their price - they are expensive, but compared with works of artist of other disciplines in the open space, they are not. And they are exemptions in the urban context. No competition with other forms of vertical greening, the simple one for instance, ground based wild wine or ivy. It is not a question of alternative - both is necessary: It is a bit as with architecture: you have the good everyday architecture, as an urban background tissue and you have the meaningful buildings with. Both need each other - imagine a city with buildings with only churches, theatres and other architectural highlights: awful! Business centres sometimes fall into this error: each building tries to overtrump - the others, with as an effect: nobody wins, all are losers...

Photos: Helga Fassbinder