New Patrons

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The New Patrons
of Dunkirk, Hauts de France, France

Soubise

Patrons: The residents of Soubise and the users of the neighborhood house,

Mediators: Bruno Dupont (artconnexion),

Artists: Patrice Carré,

Cooperation Partners and Sponsors: Fondation de France, Ville de Dunkerque,

Duration: 2007 – 2010

In a social and cultural context representative of current urban changes (multiculturalism, intense changes in the population, slum landlords, social fragility and fragmentation), the "Soubise" project had several aims: facilitating the inhabitants' participation with a view to reappropriating their neighbourhood; fostering reflection on the creation of neighbourhood public spaces; and a new perspective on the city through invention and experimentation with artistic creation. The focal point of Soubise residents, who are highly active and attached to their neighbourhood, is the maison de quartier (community centre), a locus of reflection, consultation and action, and of conviviality, interaction and encounters. The residents however regret the absence of outreach. From his position as an artist, Patrice Carré responded to the demand for visibility from the outside, for identification, and for use of the place through the creation of a coherent climate. The project was situated in the lobby of the maison de quartier and on its façade. A play of transparency and lighting was proposed for the façade.

From his position as an artist, Patrice Carré met the demand for visibility from the outside, for identification, and for use of the place, by creating a coherent atmosphere. The project is situated in the lobby of the maison de quartier and on the façade. The artist focused on two particularities of this place: its name "Soubise", which he saw as a reference to soubise sauce; and how it fits in with the architecture of the Rue de Soubise. For the entrance hall/reception area and the secretarial area, he proposed a large lighting system representing the various ingredients of soubise sauce: chopped onions, white wine, meat stock, butter, water, flour, salt and pepper, cream, etc., reflected in the corresponding shapes and colours. He interpreted the recipe in the form of ceiling lights. Each element corresponded to an ingredient and its processing, according to the chronology of the recipe. To offset this work, the artist proposed an overall rearrangement of the reception area: repainting the walls (white with an orange strip), the ceiling (harmonizing the height), the floor (uniformization), the marine-like furniture design (shelves and desk for the secretary, a bench, a table for documentation, a wall seat, a coffee table and stools) and the reorganization of the display panel (lit magnetic board). To make up for the lack of daylight, a play of transparency and lighting was proposed for the façade. The façade was what identified the place and the commission consisted in highlighting it, making it stand out from the street, the neighbourhood and the building above. In fact the reception area started outside. Patrice Carré saw the maison de quartier as a meeting place, a place to chat which brought to mind a small "factory" producing ideas and interaction between people. In reference to the architecture and the industrial base of the city of Dunkirk and its population, he covered the entire façade with a metallic and glass panel structure, transparent at the top and semi-opaque at the bottom. The metal frame was lacquered in blue, the city's colour. A picture of the recipe in neon lights ran along the front window and lit up the façade even more. Above it was a sign "Maison de quartier Soubise" in metallic letters.

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