La mutothèque

Commissioned by
  • Political tender process from the town of Paris
  • Aux Mille Lieux
  • Clémence Passot
  • Alice Lancien
  • Lucinda Groueff

La mutothèque is a three-year project that took place at Porte de Bagnolet square in Paris.

The project was initiated by Clémence Passot (graphic designer), Lucinda Groueff (architect, urban planner and videographer) and Alice Lancien (architect and urban planner).

Between 2009 and 2012, Porte de Bagnolet square underwent profound changes. The arrival of the new tram line brought with it public works. The green and grey barriers (re)structured the urban space. Each step in the construction work created a new iteration of the square.

The project involved meeting with people – about 30 interviews with residents, shopkeepers, passersby and the project manager and contracting authority – to observe and attempt to understand their “place”. The idea was then to invent different “places” and reshape the landscape. We looked at the situation from a new angle to observe what defines a place at one of the portes, or gateways, to Paris, by learning about what goes on from those who spend time there and are users of the space, then building an identity for the square based on their uses.

During the project, we carried out several visual, documentary and video experiments. The images to the left show four posters that combine photos with collected quotes on the urban transformations (memory, length of the public works, daily life as a pedestrian, and the “guts” of the city). The posters were posted on-site as a means of sharing a perspective, vision and other interpretations of the changes taking place in the neighbourhood, local urban transformations and the expertise assembled.

Non recherche-action plateforme socialdesign
Project duration
  • 2009 to 2012
  • 3 years
  • Porte de Bagnolet square, Paris, France