Geneva-based industrial design studio Compagnie des Rues has created "La rue des utopies," an elevated wooden promenade that snakes through a grove of lime trees as part of a biennial of creative public furniture meant to diversify the architecture of La Défense, a business district just west of Paris.
The promenade was designed by Constantinos Hoursoglou and Florian Lopez and features an observatory walk 60 meters (197 feet) long that is accessed on one end by a sloping ramp and a spiral staircase enclosed by vertical slabs arranged in a cylinder on the other. Two shelters punctuate the path at different points. The elevated walkway provides an opportunity for a new perspective and view of the otherwise concrete urban landscape—as well as a peaceful respite from a hectic day.
Put on by DeFacto, a public institution responsible for managing, promoting and energizing the district’s public areas, the street furniture exhibition, called Form Publique, is now in its third year. This edition’s theme is "Village Global" and builds off the previous years’ themes, this time focusing on taking their efforts from the local to global. Five projects—three shelters and two outdoor working spaces—were selected from over 70 proposals. The biennial began in June and goes until next June.