Realized by 1024 architecture, Delta, is a sculpture in wood and light which requalify the public space of Porte de la Villette. Its luminous undulations accompany pedestrians from one side of the peripheral boulevard to the other. Delta, a digital zebra suspended beneath the ring road, comprises two slender sculptures in wood, metal, and lights placed either side of the circular square.
Two series of 32 wooden porticoes, either side of the bridge, guide the pedestrians as they cross. Adapting to the topography, they undulate on the underside of the artwork in a supple and sinuous movement. The 4-metre-long wooden beams that are attached to it are equipped with lines of LED lights. The diffuse lighting, tinted with warm and cold whites, was specially developed for the project. Their colours rework the codes of the city. The variations in intensity, sheets and waves of light highlight and fluidify bicycle and foot traffic. These dynamic behaviours are generated in real time and vary every day. The artwork is synchronised to sparkle with the Eiffel Tower, as an echo, five minutes at the start of each hour, from dawn to midnight.
This immersive and bright installation guarantees a new role for pedestrians within public space: one that is gentler, more comfortable, and more pleasant. A reversal is underway. Pedestrians no longer anxiously stare at the ground: they look up, enjoying the illuminations that interact with their route. The Delta installation was also combined with the installation of a cycle lane designed during the project period, reinforcing the reappropriation of public space by different kinds of users. Delta was created by the collective Depuis 1920 in the studios of the Villa Mais d’Ici in Aubervilliers, a few hundred metres from the site of installation of the artwork. A workshop for building urban furniture was also undertaken with residents from the neighbourhood using offcuts of wood from the project.
Delta connects Paris, Pantin, and Aubervilliers in a deconstructed movement inspired by Étienne-Jules Marrey’s chrono photographs, notably L’homme qui marche (1883), from La machine animale series. This spatial and digital artwork is installed under the Paris ring-road in order to soften the transition between intra-muros Paris and its closest suburbs, within the framework of the Reconquête Urbaine programme supported by the Paris mayor’s office. Delta (the Greek letter often used in mathematics to express difference) brings a new perspective to the understanding of contemporary urban challenges. It is not a matter of considering difference as a binary opposition to be resolved – car / pedestrian or Paris / suburbs – but as the possibility of instigating a reconciliation through a heightened, sculptural, and dynamic artwork.