After three years of technical studies conducted by the company La Machine, the detailed project of the Heron Tree was unveiled by the authors and Nantes Metropole on 9 July 2021.
Nestled in the heart of the Jardin Extraordinaire in Nantes, the Heron Tree is a monumental sculpture designed by Pierre Orefice and François Delaroziere.
Inspired by banyan trees, it is 35 metres high and 50 metres in diameter. Twenty or so branches host hanging gardens in the form of micro-landscapes. The Tree is a plant arch where more than 130 species develop.
A mechanical bestiary composed of about thirty animals has taken up residence there. Hummingbirds, sloths, butterflies, wild geese…. A pair of herons nest at the top.
The Arbre aux Hérons is located in the heart of the Misery quarry facing the Loire, the Ile de Nantes and Trentemoult.
Whether you arrive on foot from the banks of the Loire, by shuttle by the river or by the Square Schwob located at the top of the quarry, the image stands out, in the hollowed-out cliffs of the Sillon de Bretagne.
The vegetation that has developed naturally over the decades, sublimated by the Extraordinary Garden designed by Phytolab, magnifies the Heron Tree. This organic architecture makes this quarry a unique urban garden in the world.
Imagine … You approach the Tree and you discover as you go along the details of the branches that fill your field of vision. With your head up in the air, you can see the Great Blue Heron in flight, mechanical animals and hundreds of visitors through the network of branches.
It is a real city in the sky.
The Heron Tree is a monumental work of art in the public space. Like the Great Elephant, it is open to the public. It offers the inhabitants its shade, its freshness but also its share of poetry and reverie.
The Heron Tree is a unique experience. You walk from branch to branch through the hanging gardens and bring the animals of the bestiary to life. The balconies of the tree offer a 360° view of the river. You can take a ride on the Great Heron. You can contemplate your city and your neighbourhood with fresh eyes. In the heart of this former mineral quarry, you can experience one of the major challenges for cities in the years to come: the greening of buildings and the urban environment.
An extraordinary journey to the heart of Nantes’ “green star” and its network of rivers and parks.
Read the Press kit of the studies by clicking below:
The Heron Tree Press Kit Presentation of studies