Jury-GRANDS PRIX DU DESIGN / Published on January 15, 2021
Iman Meriem Benkirane
Professor and Dean
EMADU / EuroMed University of Fez
PROUST QUESTIONNAIRE – PEOPLE OF DESIGN VERSION!
What prescient youthful memory relates to your present career?
I must have been 4 ou 5 years old. We were on our way from Fez to Agadir for our summer vacation.
My father made a stop along the way to visit a potter and his workshop. I watched him work his clay; and for mz, time had LITERALLY stopped. Seeing forms and objects appear in a few minutes completely changed my way of perceiving things.
What are three basic rules you learned from your mentors?
■ «Less is more »
■ «Ethics is the mother of aesthetics.»
■ Know when and how to say «No» when the existing solution requires no intervention.
What project launched your career?
The Rabat-Salé Region Landscaping Plan.
Rabat-Salé Landscaping Plan
Photo Credit: Team of the project
Year: 2009 / City: Rabat / Country: Moroco
Elaboration of the Rabat-Salé Landscape Plan including the Green Plans of the Urban and Rural Communes of the region.
The approach is based on the valorisation, the rehabilitation of the existing landscape capital into landscape entities as well as the programming of new spaces with “natural” vocation.
It should be noted that in 2010 the city of Rabat was declared Green City on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day
Any music playing while you work?
Yes, often! All kinds of music… but I often end up not so caught up in my work, I can barely hear it any longer.
Do you work in PJs or three-piece suits?
Without a doubt… in PJs!
What is your current design state of mind?
What living designer/architect do you most admire?
The HERZOG ET DE MEURON duo
QWhat past designer/architect inspires you the most?
HIRAM, great architecte of Salomon!
What is your most marked design quality?
I find it hard to pretend I own a particular design quality. That being said, if I were to aspire towards one, it would be abstraction.
How would you like your designs to go down in history?
I would like the common citizen to speak of it, in good!
What peer quality do you most value?
Observation and silence.
Which project is the epitome of your work?
The Oued Boufekrane Valley Landscaping Plan in Meknès, Morocco.
Landscape Plan of the Oued Boufekrane valley
Photo credit: Team of the project
Year: 2008 / City: Meknès / Country: Morroco
Landscape Plan covering 300 Ha non aedificandi, invested in micro agriculture and located in the heart of the city of Meknes.
The project consisted in the creation of a self-managed Urban Agricultural and Horticultural Park.
How are your country of belonging’s values reflected in your work?
Draw, as much as possible, the intervention tools from the place itself. The context contains the project within itself: its guidelines, its its materiality, its DNA. No need to import hexogenous elements: one simply needs to wear the right glasses to see it.
What always inspires you?
Observing the living.
If a spell were to transform you into an object, by all means, what would you like to be, and why?
A translation device mixing all languages and dialects of the world: current, past and future. The word is the most powerful medium there is to exchange with the Other: to access others, in their difference, their particularity. A door to their universe.
What design or architecture project do you wish you would have thought of yourself?
New York City’s Central Park!
What is your mantra?
What is your dream? THINK BIG!
That some deserts turn green again…
Reconversion of the Quarry / Oued Boufekrane valley
Credit Photo: Team of the project
2012 – Meknès, Morroco
Specific project area / Oued Boufekrane Valley
Conversion of a disused quarry into an agricultural and sports park
The approach consisted in exploring and capitalizing on the existing morphology, while modelling water retention basins for the reasoned irrigation of the urban agricultural parks downstream of the valley.
Green and Landscape Plan of Kénitra
Photo Credit: Equipe du projet
2012 – Kénitra, Morroco
Green and Landscape Plan of the city of Kenitra with the ambition to make it a destination for environmental tourism.
Green Belt -Sidi Bouknadel
2012 – Salé, Morroco
The aim is to convert an inter-urban space, invested in a mix of agricultural and horticultural plots, into a Green Belt limiting urban expansion between the town of Salé and the Urban Commune of Sidi Bouknadel.
The objective was to turn it into an agro-tourism buffer zone and to delimit the 2 bordering urban perimeters.