Sunday, 3 July 2011

The Living Wall at Quai Branly

The Musée du Quai Branly exhibits a stunning collection of indigenous art and culture from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The building was designed by the architect Jean Nouvel and completed in 2006. It is situated 100 metres from the Eiffel Tower. 

The north side of the museum complex flanks the 'Quai Branly' a busy multi lane road running along the south side of the Seine. Along this northern side and part of the museum complex is a 'living wall', or a 'green wall', 200 metres long and 12 metres high, designed Patrick Blanc and Gilles Clément, both botanists and skilled gardeners. 

The first time I saw it a few years ago I was not expecting to do so, I had never seen anything like it. I was amazed by the luscious, textural, green facade of this modern building, with otherwise sharp angular contours.

What adds to the magic are the windows that reflect the sky.

Here it is in May 2010.

And here it is in May 2011, during the exceptionally warm spring we were treated to this year.

Once you get up close to the wall you see the multitude of different plants growing and the complexity and detail of the design.

There is an inbuilt watering system that irrigates the wall. 

When you go into the museum gardens, embedded in the pathways are resin blocks containing non living plants, as well as insects and shells. The kids love hunting out these little gems. I prefer the living plants, but these are not bad either.

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