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Contact | Secretariaat
Martine Pollier
Zandstraat 324, 8200 Brugge
T +32 50 322 420


Michel Desvigne (FR)

The Power of Urban Landscape
17.11 2020

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With the support of:

Michel Desvigne is a French geographer and botanist active on an urban scale. He loves the city because it offers a lot of public space, a well-designed city with all its streets, squares and parks shapes a society. Next to architects and urban planners, the work of landscape architects is increasingly prominent in the city: they create the space in which architects works.

The relationship between city, people and nature needs to be restored. Parks and / or high-quality public spaces make it possible to live with nature in the city.

Desvigne focuses on new landscapes, contemporary natural creations that interact with the unspoken presence.

Michel Desvigne has a special connection to Kortrijk:
The surroundings of the Broel Towers on the Leie are one of the most beautiful places in Kortrijk’s city center. This place is the symbol and calling card of Kortrijk. The site is also strategically located between the economic city center of Kortrijk and the Buda island along the new banks of the Leie.

stad Kortrijk

The former experience of this place did not live up to its potential. In 2005, a global concept for the reconstruction of the quays of the Oude Leie was developed by Michel Desvigne in collaboration with the engineering firms JPLX and Arcadis. The main starting point in the redesign was to improve contact with the water. It was therefore proposed to lower the quayside. This redevelopment of the Oude Leieboorden won the prize for best public space in Flanders and Brussels during the Conference on Public Space in 2019. The prize was awarded by the Infopunt Publieke Ruimteand is an acknowledgment of good commissioning, high-quality design and professional implementation of the project. In addition to the prize of the jury, the Kortrijk city council also received the Public Prize for Public Space.
The redevelopment of the quays will restore contact between the river and the city and create a new meeting place. This valuable new urban landscape increases the spatial quality of the historic city.

The international arts trail of Contrei Live and Intercommunale Leiedal, exhibitsworks by sixteen national and international artists, among which a work by Michel Desvigne. The art trail meanders until the end of October 2020in Kortrijk and thirteen cities and municipalities in South West Flanders. Michel Desvigne designed an intervention“Floating Gardens” on the Leie, near the Broel Towers. During the development of the vision around the Oude Leieboorden in Kortrijk, the idea emerged to create floating green islands in addition to the interventions on the quayside. “Floating Gardens” conjures a hovering dream landscape to reflect on and over the water. The gardens are small, simple and repetitive structures that reproduce the natural vegetation of the banks of the river Leie. In their natural transience, they emphasize the transition of the seasons. From the riverside you can observe the floating gardens from the front row and reflect on the process and the creation of new natural forms in the city. The typical water and bank plants of the Leie landscape take root in the water, with the floating ecosystem supporting them without soil. The method is similar to hydroponics. The ambition is to expand the number of islands over time. The intervention therefore has a sustainable character.

Michel Desvigne is internationally renowned for his rigorous and contemporary work and research. He developed projects in more than 25 countries. He revisits the landscape and tries to understand the mechanisms that make the landscape, in order to transform it and give it meaning with the same mechanisms. In 2000 Desvigne was awarded la Médaillede l’Académie d’Architecture and in 2011 le Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme. He has been a Knight of the French Order of Arts and Letters since 2003 and has taught at several architecture schools around the world.

He gives us a view of his vision and his work.