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Sustainable cities: APILABO, rewarded for a fruitful partnership

Sustainable cities: APILABO, rewarded for a fruitful partnership

The idea for “Apilabo”, part of the “natural curiosities“ installation thought up by Aurélie Moyon (2011 alumni, Master’s degree in Transcultural Design) as an extension of her final degree project, was developed thanks to a fruitful partnership with Exponantes, subsidiary of the Nantes Saint Nazaire CCI and managing body of Nantes’ exhibition center (Parc des Expositions). This long term project has just received a special commendation for its efforts to raise awareness about biodiversity at the Business and Environment Awards organized by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) and the Ministry of Sustainable Development.

A project conceived in Shanghai and carried out in Nantes.

The project stemmed from a chance encounter: Christian Le Cornec, Managing Director of the Nantes Saint-Nazaire Chamber of Commerce and Industry had the opportunity to discover Aurélie Moyon’s final degree project in September 2011. She was completing her Transcultural Design China degree and he was a member of the examining board at her final oral defense. Aurélie had chosen to work on conserving biodiversity in cities: the project proposal was to create urban refuges in Shanghai that would provide shelter for wild bees and encourage pollination. Her project, supervised by Bernard Vaissière, director of research at INRA (the National Institute of Agronomic Research) and specialist in the field, won over C. Le Cornec who then presented it to Frédéric Jouet, Director of Exponantes, subsidiary of the CCI and managing body of Nantes’ exhibition center.

APILABO, a global design project for biodiversity

The Parc des Expositions, in addition to its commercial role, is a substantial green space, which welcomes over 300 000 visitors per year. Already a long-term advocate of sustainable development, Exponantes was the ideal partner to help deploy a project encompassing the management of natural habitats, bee shelters and visitor information.

Developed between November 2011 and June 2012, with the participation of the École supérieure du Bois (engineering school specialized in wood science and technology), a landscaper and a communications agency, the permanent and perennial installation consists of two main elements. The “Clos sauvage” is a wild and natural area which brings together 21 floral species favored by local bees from the nearby rose garden. The “petits oasis” includes a feeding area featuring “Totems”, or bee hives. The organization of these areas by theme helps to inform curious visitors with its original approach to these fascinating species. In addition, a detailed brochure tells visitors all about the trail.

A special commendation in the “Business and biodiversity” category

The project has just received a commendation for “Best awareness initiative” in the “Business and biodiversity” category at the Business and Environment Awards organized by the Ministry of Sustainable Development and ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency), which is a resounding endorsement of the project. So, what’s next? “Developing other Oasis in Nantes”… An outline for a project with a mobile application Oasis in Nantes rewarded in June 2012 at the competition “Rendez nous la ville plus facile” (Make our city life easier).

Aurélie Moyon is a freelance designer and consultant in innovation for sustainable products and services. She regularly collaborates on projects with the Sustainable Cities Design Lab.