Reconstruction of the market square, Place du Marché, in Roanne (Loire, France)
Roanne Town Council
Bruno Tanant (TN+)
Terrestre and Ebony
Photos: © Actophoto
An upcoming trend in city development these days is to give the village and town squares back to the pedestrians, at the expense of cars. In Roanne, a French town in the Loire Department and the Rhône-Alpes region, this metamorphosis is being realized within the framework of an extensive plan to bring new life to the town centre and its pedestrian streets.
Despite the controversy which this effected within some parts of the population and among some of the traders, the square was stripped of its car park function so that this important public space could be awarded a new, more attractive and more colourful image. On the left hand side, a triangular concrete elevation highlights the beautiful trees that have been preserved, at the same time serving as a sitting platform.
No less than 341,000 DecimA clay pavers have been used. Opposite the Déchelette mansion, a historical dwelling built in the 19th century by Etienne Paszkowicz, the use of ebonite pavers creates a mosaic that reflects the visible patterns on the building's roof.
The council authorities were drawn by the aesthetics and the strong identity which this type of paver was able to contribute to the project. They even travelled to Belgium to view some finished projects and to verify whether this material, which is not being used much in France for paving floor surfaces, is able to stand the test of time.
Resistant is something the clay paver most definitely is! It was developed especially for roads, and is therefore heavier and less porous than facing bricks. Moreover, the colour is natural and does not change over time, which is exactly what this project needs.
Within the DecimA colour range, the landscape architect has chosen the shades 'Terrestre' and 'Ebonite'.
The brownish-red colour of the first brings to mind the squares of Italy. In order to implement the required mosaic pattern, the workers first paved the entire site with red pavers, and then, after drawing out the pattern on the ground, replaced certain specimens with the black variety. The refined quality of the clay pavers allows for a more elegant design, which is often not the case with concrete pavers.
In the background, on the left, one can see the fountain, a crucial decorative element on this newly reconstructed square.
The weekly market, which had been held on another square during the construction works, has been reinstated at its original location upon the request of both residents and traders.