The 190 km long Canal de Berry was designed to transport coal from the mines of Commentry to the Allier river and from there to the forges of Berry. The only French canal modelled on the English «narrow canal» design, it has borne witness to a rich industrial history. Now abandoned and in places filled in, the challenge here is to rediscover this structural axis of development and to make it into a showcase piece combining art, landscape and history.
The project is based on the construction of several sections that are representative of the Canal’s diversity:
The Marmagne section (2.5 km stretch of traditional canal waterway) or the canal at the movies: symbolically re-embroidering the canal’s “guiding thread” over the continuity of the section.
Bourges section (1km stretch of canal waterway in an urban environment) or the shared canal: working on intersections (bridges, access ramps, etc.) and providing meeting spaces based on a walking theme.
The Plaimpied section (2.5 km of canal filled with wild vegetation) or a red carpet for a green hole: providing ample space for relaxation and play.
Anay-le-Vieil section (2.5 km drained canal set in a hilly landscape devoted to livestock farming) or the canal’s magic spells: restoring the canal through a «water course,» a sort of fishnet stretched over the surface with reflections and fog effects creating an impression of flowing water.
Each section is announced by emblematic «gateways». The structure of the itinerary on the sections will be influenced by different rhythms: the rhythm of the canal, the rhythm of the territory, the rhythm of the rest stops, the rhythm of artistic events and the rhythm of the traveller.
Dotted along the course of the canal, scenographic designs will occasionally accompany the traveller during his journey on foot or by bike, in reference to the canal, its territory, its landscapes and its natural life.