New Patrons

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The New Patrons
of Marseille, France

Le banc de sable

Patrons: Residents and users of Place François Moisson including members of the teaching staff and school staff,

Mediators: Sylvie Amar-Gonzalez,

Artists: Olivier Bedu,

Cooperation Partners and Sponsors: Fondation de France, Conseil Général des Bouches du Rhône, Communauté urbaine Marseille Provence Métropole, Ville de Marseille (DQVP),

Duration: 2005 – 2010

The history of the new Place François Moisson inaugurated in 2010 begins in 2005, when teachers from the school group decide to propose a workshop of "urban reading" to students of CE2. The aim was to bring children to the understanding of citizenship and the sharing of public space, for example by taking the square in front of their school. The students thus made a real diagnosis of the place: frequentation, movements, vegetation, but also uses and behaviors. This finding was similar to that of adults: the place needed to be adapted to the life of the school and the neighborhood. Deciding to invest in improving their daily environment, school staff and residents of the neighborhood order a work so that the reflection initiated by children can become a real project.

The artist's proposal, Le banc de sable, takes into account the expectations expressed by the commissioners, while providing a simple and playful answer, like a watercourse and its shore. This transformation of the place allows to circulate fluidity and harmoniously coexist different uses. Specifically, Olivier Bedu has installed as a main area a platform slightly elevated. Punctuated by three islands of colored concrete, real anchors in the square, it hosts static activities (sit, wait, chat, play) and facilitates micro-circulation of children, canteen trips-school etc. The other part of the square where the old granite lining has been preserved draws an adjacent path, marrying the edge of the platform. This path, more clear and urban, is naturally borrowed by residents and walkers for their inter-neighborhood travel.

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