Last spring, as part of UTC‘s IDI-Di03 CC, (industrial design workshop), Victor Lherm-Soulas, a student in urban engineering, together with Lucas David, a student majoring in mechanical engineering, designed a space for the city of Compiègne. The result is a scenography that resonates with the place to form a meaningful whole.
As part of the IDI course, Industrial Design Engineering, Mechanical Engineering specialty, Victor Lherm-Soulas imagined and designed a terrace for a specific public place on the banks of the river Oise, integrating a reflection on its aesthetics, its materials, its functions and its associated uses. The project consists of a large wooden deck terrace with a diameter of 30m, structured in two circular spaces marked by different decking: a space in the centre for music and dancing, and around it, a space with tables of different sizes. And a “centrality” around a kiosk which is the support of all the life brought by this project. «It was carried out as a commission from the ARC, the agglomeration of the Greater Compiegne region, which wanted to communicate, make visible and tangible the dynamism of the agglomeration on the economic, cultural and environmental levels. This is a fictitious project. The aim is that the result should go pass the test of time and blend in with the surrounding landscape,» explains Anne Meuleau, a lecturer in industrial design at UTC, accompanied in the project by the BLAM workshop. This company in the urban furniture sector explores the designers’ ability to see the world and imagine the world of tomorrow. «Aurélien Meyer, co-founder of the BLAM workshop, accompanied us by building the brief with me, giving his expert opinion to the students, as much on the aesthetic, semantic, poetic and symbolic aspect, as on the pragmatic aspect of the projects, the use, the manufacturing and the implementation.»
Creativity as a lever
According to Victor Lherm-Soulas, today the engineers are given an advisory, even limiting role. He/she knows the technical aspects, so he is consulted to find out if it will work or not. He/ she writes technical specifications, translates architectural intentions into technical plans, checks compliance with the regulatory framework, and produces technical studies. «It is terribly sad to see that the creative role of the engineer has been largely lost, the most striking testimony to which in history is undoubtedly Leonardo da Vinci, who forgot that the first engineering school, Les Ponts et Chaussées, was founded on the model of a school of architecture. The history of the engineering profession is also closely linked to design and the craft that preceded industry,» continues Victor. “For me, it is a question of reviving this heritage and considering technical and regulatory constraints no longer as obstacles but as creative levers. This is what should guide our way of making the city”.
Imagining attractive urban furniture
The students came up with targeted, unique and unexpected answers. 3D modelling enabled them to develop an idea by pushing it to the limit, in terms of details and finish, by integrating some manufacturing constraints, while producing realistic images of the projects, with integration of the furniture in its context. «The objective is to re-enchant public places, by creating a collective, by bringing conviviality and interaction. To offer beauty, positivity, wonder, pleasure and emotion. If possible, integrate the eco-responsible dimension,» assures Anne Meleau. “We are hoping for a positive response from the Compiègne town hall to exhibit the models there and show the projects to the members of the Arc. Through their ability to understand and analyse, to think about the meaning of what they are doing, to integrate all types of constraints and tools, to be creative, but above all to put the human being who uses the devices at the centre, engineers have their place at all levels to participate in the creation of the city of the future”.