Exhibition of Vegetal Cities, Saline Royale d’Arc-et-Senans, 2018


“On the top floor of a very tall building, two angels are asleep. One dreams of watching over his companion as he sleeps; the other, without knowing it, is inventing new worlds in his dreams.” These lines by the Mexican poet Homero Aridjis remind me of Luc Schuiten’s work, of worlds born from the perfect dreams of winged creatures like those in the graphic stories shared with his brother, François Schuiten. Luc Schuiten’s invitation to the Saline Royale restores a link to the long line of dreamers inspired by Claude Nicolas Ledoux. Luc’s dreams embrace the world and redesign cities. “Imagination, which enhances everything, can embellish and – I would even say – change the immutable order of the world,” proclaimed Ledoux, and, without exaggeration, this is the work in which Luc Schuiten is engaged as a utopian architect. From the City of Treehouses to Vegetal City, harmony, in 2100, reigns over the planet. Turning his back on the post-apocalyptic visions of most of his fellow science-fiction illustrators and authors, his archiborescent universe is as beautiful, gentle and silent as that of the Ideal City of Chaux. But Luc Schuiten’s work is not confined to the imagination; he has always constructed, built and lived according to his principles, and each of his creations bears witness to the pertinence of his thinking. The exhibition of his work at the Saline, and the theme of his Vegetal Cities, presented to landscape design students for the Garden Festival, compels us to examine how we might like to live and travel, from one city to the next, flying silently on ornithoplanes.

Hubert Tassy
Director of the Saline Royale.