Decoding Design

Designer installs an outdoor digital haven in urban Paris

Designer installs an outdoor digital haven in urban Paris

Posting in Cities

Escale Numérique is a series of Wi-Fi stations where pedestrians can sit down to either use their laptops or other mobile devices as well as access local information on a large screen.

French designer Mathieu Lehanneur, in collaboration with advertising firm JCDecaux, has installed his first urban development project on the famed Rond Point des Champs-Elysées in Paris.

The project, called Escale Numérique (Digital Break in French), is a series of Wi-Fi stations where pedestrians can sit down to either use their laptops or other mobile devices as well as access local information on a large screen.

The installation won a competition set up by the Mairie de Paris for intelligent street furniture connected with the underground fibre-optic network so residents and visitors without mobile internet access can connect on the move.

Lehanneur devised a protective shelter with a plant covered roof, meant to look as good from above as from street level. Concrete swivel chairs with school desk-like tables for laptops sit under the shelter, and a large "digital billboard" provides city information and news for those without personal devices.

"Escale Numérique is a revival of the underground fibre optic network which is now supplying the capital, ‘Like the Wallace fountains, which since the end of the 19th century have offered Parisian the free drinking water which was circulating beneath their feet, Escale Numérique allows everyone to benefit, like a real public service, from a high-speed WIFI connection by raising it from beneath the ground."

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Images: Felipe Ribon

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure