The commission : Unless there is a resurgence of interest in pigeon fancying among new generations, a tradition is destined to disappear. Keeping carrier pigeons as a means of natural communication is nonetheless a challenge in the face of contemporary technologies. In order to encourage new people to take up the hobby, while at the same time preserving the quality of a renowned breeding stock, the Beauvois pigeon fanciers' association wished to commission a contemporary artist to design a new prototype pigeon loft which would combine aesthetic appeal, functionality and a pedagogic dimension. This initiative met with a favourable reception from those in charge of the Caudry leisure base, engaged on the huge enterprise of recreating a natural environment (native species, lagoon zone, ecological reserve) which has disappeared as a result of over-intensive farming in Cambrésis. It seems appropriate to bring together as many local activities as possible to attract the public and give the region a new boost. Having the pigeon loft on the leisure base will contribute towards enhancing the value of the site, through participation in breeding competitions, openness to contemporary creative work and the discovery of a tradition.
The Artist : By calling on an artist-designer and not a fine artist, the mediator made an original choice and one which appealed to the patrons. As an industrial designer, her work is based on listening to other people's requirements, and her designs combine aesthetic appeal and functionality. Accepting the commission for a prototype pigeon loft is directly in line with her research and experiments, at the same time as affording her an opportunity to deal with a context she is unfamiliar with: a natural, local context. To respond to the brief as effectively as possible, she adopted a method of work that is specific to her. Rather than presenting a single scheme to the patrons, she presented them with two, one simpler, the other more complex. Depending on how the exchange of ideas develops, she can thus act in the manner of a cursor. The more elaborate scheme was chosen straight away, to her surprise
Implementation : Keen to ally tradition and modernity in what she creates, crasset designed a capsule shape for the prototype, referring to the pigeon lofts recorded from the early days of Ancient Egypt. The internal structure, from which the positioning of the various functional spaces can be organized, is reminiscent of that of a tree, the natural resting place of winged creatures, an axis mundi linking earth and sky. The external shell, a protective envelope between interior and exterior, hints at a secret world to be discovered, inviting the public to enter into this extraordinary architecture. The capsule, a simple, coloured form, stands out clearly against the space where it has been installed, extending over a height of more than six metres. At a raised height, as if in suspension, it evokes the idea of departure, flight: an aerodynamic shape evoking a futuristic, playful universe, a medium for flights of fancy relating to the world of carrier pigeons.
Commissioners : La Défense, the association of pigeon fanciers in Beauvois en Cambresis and the leisure park of Caudry
Location : Leisure Park of Caudry
Partners : Fondation de France, European Funding (FEDER), Région Nord-Pas de Calais, city of Caudry, Entreprise Francial
- André Morin, Fondation de France