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Leonardo and the Branly Museum

Patrick Blanc, Mur Végétal, Musée du Quai Branly, 2004The cover piece in Le Point this week (Les mystères de Léonard de Vinci, October 7) by Irène Inchauspé was in response to the popularity of The Da Vinci Code in France (see my post on Pissing off the Parisians, August 21). Unfortunately, most of this group of articles has been limited only to subscribers.

In the same issue, there was an unrelated little capsule article (Le chiffre: 800 m2, October 7). Its one sentence mentioned that Patrick Blanc was making the largest plant wall in the world, 800 square meters (8611.2 square feet), for the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, which is scheduled to open in 2006. The new museum will house a collection of art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas, brainchild of collector Jacques Kerchache. Until it opens, you can peruse this selection of 100 works from the collection online. Patrick Blanc's Mur Végétal, completed this summer, is composed of 15,000 plants of different species from Japan, China, the United States, and central Europe. Although there is no connection with Leonardo, this is the sort of concept piece that likely would have appealed to him. The surface is attached to the actual structual wall, onto which the plants have been attached, in a density of about twenty plants per square meter. A system of pipes runs through the surface, allowing water, with plant nutrients, to flow down from the top of the wall to all the plants. Weeds will not be able to invade the wall space, reducing upkeep, although an annual cutting of plants will still be necessary.

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