ronan & erwan bouroullec propose experimental solutions for urban life at VITRA

ronan & erwan bouroullec propose experimental solutions for urban life at VITRA


ronan and erwan bouroullec bring ‘rêveries urbaines’ (‘urban dreams’) to the zaha hadid-designed fire station at the VITRA campus. the exhibition depicts a wide-ranging exploration of possible solutions for cities, and concepts for urban development. the proposed ideas are presented in the gallery as models and animations through which visitors can walk through, forming an immersive experience that offers a series of different scenarios that form ‘chapters’ in an urban fiction.


‘rêveries urbaines’ — on view from now through january 22, 2017 — was previously exhibited at les champs libres in rennes as part of a comprehensive retrospective of the studio’s work. the exhibition at VITRA also marks the bouroullec’s second exhibition at the campus after ‘album‘ in 2012.

‘abris et rochers’ (shelters and rocks): a scenic viewpoint made of rocks and covered by an aerial roof
all images courtesy of vitra design museum © studio bouroullec



‘the exhibition presents ongoing research: open and abundant research, a ‘pragmatic reverie’ that is designed to exist in public spaces, perhaps in weil,ronan bouroullec says of the show. ‘some people may find the exhibition perturbing or surprising because, up until now, urban development has never been our subject. I like being in that position. over the past 20 years, I think our best propositions were linked to subjects for which we were not particularly prepared.’

‘nuages’ (clouds): half pergola, half vegetal, the structure forms a link between the geometric and the organic



the exhibition presented by the vitra design museum features ronan and erwan bouroullec’s first projects that focus on public spaces. films and research models are arranged around fourteen proposals that re-invent motifs for urban spaces, such as vines, torches, parasols, a fountain, and a kiosk. the installation refers to some of the ongoing projects the brothers are developing for several cities around the world, each with an aim to give a new sensibility to the spaces where we engage publicly, through the use of line, harmony and transparency. the scenarios take into account urban functions and the relationship between buildings — human considerations that would make the city a place of enchantment.

a unit in the shape of a cloud, a signature motif in the work of ronan & erwan bouroullec, creates a roof



‘the project was built from a certain distance, which is our normal way of working,’ erwan bouroullec describes of their collaborative approach. ‘in our work, no project is dedicated to a particular person or place. the exhibition brings together propositions for developing public spaces that could equally apply to weil, basel or copenhagen. in fact, all of these principles have the advantage of containing an element of abstraction. they reply to a question that is not completely clear. it is in this vacuum that our propositions could be potentially re-imagined ‘on site’.

‘pergola’: the structure forms a shaded pathway made up of one single, repeating unit



designboom recently paid a visit to the bouroullec’s intimate workspace, housed in a former shoe factory, to talk to ronan about their creative processes. see inside their paris studio here

the surface of the pergola is like an architectural chain that creates a magical entwinement of metal and vegetation

‘chapiteau lumineux’ (bright tent): the tent is made up of masts arranged to look like the poles of a circus tent

the light evokes the atmosphere of an open air café, and the space becomes like an urban living room

‘toits et troncs’ (roofs and trunks): roofs are stripped back to the basics and resemble community shelters

installation view of ‘rêveries urbaines’ (‘urban dreams’) at the zaha hadid-designed fire station

the exhibition forms an immersive experience that offers different scenarios as ‘chapters’ in an urban fiction

models are presented on long tables within the gallery

the exhibition depicts a wide-ranging exploration of possible solutions for cities

visitors are able to walk through the series of models and animations

films and research models are arranged around fourteen main proposals

the scenarios take into account urban functions and the relationship between buildings


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