• Front populaire
    The botanical station


    Following the extension of subway line 12, the Parisian Transport Agency (RATP in French) hired ateliergh for a consulting work, in order to set up an artistic intervention that would take place in the new Front Populaire subway station, in the aftermath of the architectural works.

    Following the extension of subway line 12, the Parisian Transport Agency (RATP in French) hired ateliergh for a consulting work, in order to set up an artistic intervention that would take place in the new Front Populaire subway station, in the aftermath of the architectural works.
    The intervention had to take up one or two inspirational themes:
    • The first one was vegetal and would recall ground level where the creation of a garden was planned, to follow travelers all along their stay in the station.
    • The second axis was about territory and patrimony, in that case the history of subway stations along the North-South line, particularly along line 12, to create a relationship of intimacy with subway users.
    The project could only follow one way or mix both through the reference to their common patrimonial signs.
    The Front Populaire subway station :
    A botanic station intertwining living sciences and culture
    The graphic compact of the Front Populaire subway station, rather than a fitting out, must be understood as universal language allowing:
    1. To COMMUNICATE in a sensitive way with travelers.
    2. To LIVE an exotic experience as an alternative to daily routines
    3. To make people AWARE of the delicacy of our ecosystem.
    4. To LINK the area inhabitants with students who, soon, will settle in it.
    Fig tree, ficus religiosa, under which Buddha is said to have reached the state of awakening, banana trees, lianas, rubberwood and plants of all kinds are planted in the station. This jungle flourishes in Paris, in the greenhouse of Front Populaire subway station. In the heart of that urban ecosystem, plants, men and animals live together.
    This bucolic setting leads travelers to a state of contemplation, to the enjoyment of free time as would say Leon Blum, the father figure of the Front Populaire period. Indeed, the station turns into a resort, perfect for wonderment and relaxation. The daily commute is growing into an exotic exploration.
    Thanks to its visual identity inspired by the botanic world, the Front Populaire subway station is not entirely considered as a transportation service. It changes into a gazebo, a cultural pool, an ornithological observatory enabling users to contemplate the agitation of flux and feel vegetal biodiversity in its abundance and scarcity. As an image of the vegetation adorning the station, travelers are invited to take a break, to take roots and contemplate an imaginary nature where plants and species from all over the world cohabit. The inherent poetry of that botanical garden-like station shortens the wait of users, who can propel into a phantasmagorical world. Floral variety is also a nod to human wealth, to the cultural diversity of Saint-Denis/Aubervilliers cosmopolitan area. African species cohabit with Asian and Amazonian plants… Strange animal species take visitors away toward new horizons. Subway users grow to other continents…
    Last, Front Populaire subway station is the place to sensitize a large number over the frailty of our ecosystem and over the current stakes of its preservation, uniting all living sciences (anthropology, botany, Earth sciences, paleontology, etiology). Interweaving fluxes and plants, this subway station is a hybrid mix of knowledge and visions of the world, growing over cultural frontiers.
    It is thought as a cultural station around three core principles
    The visual scenography of Front Populaire subway station generates wonderment and creates surprise to fight against the surrounding gloom of commute.
    The objective is to share extraordinary experiences with travelers around three core principles.
    Knowledge (learning): The station gives access to knowledge, such as scientific theories that visitors could be taught by a committee of experts made of specialists of living and human sciences. The elements composing the graphic compact could be selected in consultation with this committee. This scientific collaboration is also a way of involving university scholars who will cross the station daily.
    Know-how (tools): Digital tools are at the disposal of travelers so that they can improve the sensitive experience conveyed by stepping into the station. For instance, a reality enhancing application for SmartPhone could be developed. Those tools allow travelers to interact with this surrounding environment.
    Education and culture: Last, Front Populaire subway station stages the cultural (bio)diversity typifying the surrounding cosmopolitan and popular district. The graphic language lies on universal values: Nature. Such a natural language is meaningful for everyone and goes beyond cultural barriers, leading to more interaction between people… and nature.
    The luxurious vegetation illustrates how fertilization mixes different forms of necessary knowledge to cultivate the art of living together. The station also becomes the theatre of a metaphoric language on our relationship to nature and, more widely, to contemporary world. The graphic universe can also act as a matrix to vegetate the neighborhood and pollinate minds. Graphics then turns into an emblem that can be exported further than the limits of a subway station. Viral proliferation contributes to the evolution of a station into a cultural and popular place.
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  • Creative Direction

    Illustrations & graphics

    Social anthropologist / User experience
    Stéphane Juguet (WT2i)