This summer, passengers travelling through the railway station of Angers Saint-Laud in Western France can admire an installation of trees suspended from the ceiling of the station and positioned on the ground in the forecourt as part of a project initiated by SNCF Gares & Connexions, the SNCF subsidiary tasked with managing, operating and developing the 3,000 rail stations across France.
A real technological and botanical challenge, the "garden station" is the creation of landscape designer Alexis Tricoire. You can watch the design and construction process behind the installation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KAiKzAsFJE
SNCF Gares & Connexions has used its specific expertise to create a sense of urban dynamism. Emmanuel Clochet, Head of Station Management for Central & Western France, said “SNCF’s Gares & Connexions wished to develop this “garden station” project to reflect the relationship between the station and the city”.
Five trees surrounded by luminous rings, float five metres high across the glazed façade of the station. In the forecourt of the station, two trees, also surrounded by luminous rings, are transformed into seats. Each luminous ring, three metres in diameter and weighing one ton, is made of brushed stainless steel including light polycarbonate windows and three types of lighting that promote plant growth.
This impressive design was developed by Alexis Tricoire for over a decade; his use of research materials and botanical expertise enabled him to build irrigation and misting systems that would support the challenging structure and ensure it was durable. Tricoire has been a leader in landscape design and has been rethinking the role of nature in our society for over ten years, focusing on botanical innovation and the study of a new kind of urbanism where vegetation inspires how we design our urban space.
Angers has been named the greenest city of France and is renowned for the green-orientated companies that base themselves there and the Vegepolys plant research and training centres. The station, which has 15,000 passengers a day, is directly connected to Paris and Nantes.
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