On 2 June 2010, the four entirely renovated and restructured greenhouses in the
Jardin des Plantes in Paris, were reopened to the public after years of work.
LAN has created an itinerary that unfolds from one greenhouse to the next and whose forms emphasize, with a motif, a specific form or colour, the particularities of these contrasting worlds. These “passageways” enable us to experience the plants at close hand, to freely immerse ourselves in them, emphasising the distinction between a “museum” and a “greenhouse.”
The guiding principles defining LAN’s project were to dissolve the limits of the greenhouse structures in order to mix colour, form and matter, to create pathways perfectly integrated into their host environments, and to illuminate and highlight the majesty of the trees while respecting the natural ambient light. It is the vegetation’s exceptional luxuriance that is given precedence, not the ostentatious architecture, which would have detracted from it. The treatment of the paths blends into the spaces while reflecting the characteristics of each of the four greenhouses.
A versatile material
The same concrete was used for the path in four different ways. In the Tropical Forests greenhouse, the prefabricated concrete, coloured during mixing, is laid in strips of different lengths alternating with bare ground. This has the effect of “blurring” or “fraying” the path’s edges. With time, the plants and flowers will be able to infiltrate the path itself and its surface will acquire a patina. In the Deserts greenhouse, the concrete is light-coloured and helps accentuate the dazzling atmosphere in this sun-drenched pavilion. In the Plant History greenhouse, the same concrete was shaped to accommodate the listed stones marking out the path, which had remained unchanged for a century. The New Caledonia greenhouse is divided in two by an elegant footbridge engraved with Kanak motifs and lit from beneath.
LAN was also commissioned to design three
distinct lighting scenarios: for the paths,
the vegetation and the rock.
The principal aim was to enhance the natural light filtered
by the vegetation to create interesting areas of shade along the
itinerary. Individual plants also
had to be highlighted: the verticality of certain trees, for ins-
tance, is emphasised by lighting
the trunk from the roots to the
summit. Specific areas of the
rock were lit to enhance its intriguing chiaroscuro.