Avec Nicolas Schöffer
In 1952, Claude Parent discovered the work of Nicolas Schöffer at the Mai gallery during an exhibition of the artist’s geometric reliefs. An intense four-year collaboration between them ensued, resulting in innovative projects for cities, shopping centers, etc. Schöffer’s rigorous analysis of the components of a city challenged its organization, which was essentially based on economic considerations and ill-adapted to current needs. According to him, “it is the sculptor, manipulator of volumes par excellence, who will determine the visual conditions of architecture. The city will be the visual extension of sculpture.” In the projects he designed with Parent, Schöffer envisaged the city as an immense relief composed of elements that stretch out in strips and that is punctuated by towers, which provide easily visible signs within the district. These cities, detached from the ground and overlooking the trees, rest upon pylons of some fifteen meters in height (the equivalent of five floors), thereby offering the occupants the ideal view from above that would simulate the sensation of living in an airplane in flight. “Detachment from the surface gives the impression of lightness and facilitates intellectual effort” Schöffer explained. With no more than two upper floors, the dwellings leave the terrain below free for farming, strolling, gardens and forests, with vehicular traffic consigned to subterranean passages. Each spatio-dynamic city possesses several units composed of 100 to 250 pods on average, with links provided by helicopter.