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The building of the Heron

Herons are the key animals of the Heron Tree project which will be launched in a few years in Nantes. Like the Great Elephant, Herons are also true living machines. This pair of waders nests at the top of the Tree on platforms 35 m high. Each of them is carried by a specific handling arm which ensures the overall movement. They take off one after the other, taking 20 passengers on a circular flight at a height of 40 metres, lasting about 4 minutes, with a breathtaking view of the city in transformation and the Loire. When they take off, their wings spread out over a span of 16 metres covering the passengers on board the gondolas. A pilot perched on their necks manipulates the bird’s head giving it life and expression.

Like all the company’s machines, the Heron is morphologically faithful to reality both from an aesthetic point of view with its outer wooden envelope and in its mechanical structure, being able to adopt many of the animal’s attitudes. The marriage between the machine and the animal is a subtle combination and we wish to highlight it rather than hide it.  The number and complexity of the movements, the size of the ensemble, the altitude and the exposure of the machines, which results in exposure to wind and bad weather, represent considerable technical constraints and make this construction a unique work site that we will be keen to share with the public throughout next year.