ABC Vivant – Saint Etienne | jmoulin

The shelter made with living bamboo forms a synthesis of many uses and benefits that plants can bring to the city. Installed in the heart of the city of Saint Etienne on the occasion of the international design biennial in 2019, It delighted visitors, users and organizers forming a comfortable oasis of calm and freshness on this « mineral » square. A worthy response to climate challenges.

The core innovation, from my research since the early 2000s, the living, decorative plant becomes structural and supports the roof with a specific connection system between the bamboos stems. Theses living poles have many ecological advantages for human health and Nature. It touches the sensitivity of people and offers them services that reconnect with nature for their health and well-being. Thanks to the innovative design landscaping and bamboos, it shelters, soothes, purifies, preserves the living environment and its environment, and can even nourish us, provide materials to make or repair.

This project has to face multiple constraints with a small budget:
First of all, the kiosk had to be light, self-supporting and easily removable, being on an old slab with a car park below, the weight of which should not exceed 500kg / m² and did not allow bamboo to be planted as in my previous experiences on living bamboo structures. The circular shape and the fusion of the potted benches made it possible to hide the necessary ballasting against the wind and better distribute the mass of this temporary project.

In a complicated context in France, with the demonstrations for the climate, those of the unions and « yellow vests », construction slowed down to a week without undergoing any degradation even during the exhibition.

The arrangement of the benches favors multiple situations, in the sun or in the shade. Users can be seated face to face or next to each other to chat or can be arranged to allow for privacy and personal space. it creates a landmark to wait for public transport nearby or to meet …
This shelter improves urban life by using the properties of living plants and adopts a circular economic model ; it was local businesses that provided the material which was used for the structure, and the local community was able to recover the modules of benches for their use. And the roof will serve an other structure…

Project Credits

Design: ®jmoulin
photos credits: ®jmoulin and ®jbescos & ®jmoulin

partners and suppliers:
Bamboos come from La pépinière de la Bambouseraie (Anduze – France)
the Fittings come from FIPS ( France)
the roof sheet come from Serynis (Saint Etienne- France)
Bench part and help for installation by ” Affaires à suivre” (Saint Etienne – France)
Thanks for the help of installation and uninstallation : the organisators (city of saint Etienne)

About Damian Holmes 5480 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at