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Banc d’essai, Experimenting with Urban Furniture in Public Space

By Lise Coirier

During the International Design Biennial Saint-Etienne, Banc d’essai provides an opportunity for designers, companies and publishers to test their life-size imagination and produce urban objects – comparing them to the public space and offer users – visitors, residents, shopkeepers and managers of public services – a new expertise.

This initiative addresses several issues such as how to live in the city? How to decorate and animate our public spaces? How to forge stronger ties between generations and to give shape to the appropriation of space for all? It is within these parameters that public environments come alive. Where needs are expressed, practices are created. Uses becoming clearer: siting, eating, reading, playing, working, learning, calling or just looking around.

This approach is highlighted by many outdoor exhibitions created through different workshops such as the one head by three winning ESADSE graduates – Céline Renaudie & Maxime Burnichon, Astrid Amadieu and Carol Landriot, and Michaël Paquet with street furniture manufacturer Tôlerie Forézienne (TF). This workshop has created the conditions for an innovative and generous project, reconnecting urban design with the city and its users, enriched with a quest for beauty, usefulness and sustainable. The winners are able to participate to the Banc d’essai during the Biennial for a month.

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Capture d’écran 2015-03-13 à 12.15.55

This year’s Banc d’essai course will take place across Saint-Étienne from 12 March to 12 April 2015.