Escale Numérique, a connected haven of peace available to everyone. Set up on the Rond Point des Champs-Elysées, 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.’
For his first urban development project, Mathieu Lehanneur devised a protective shelter with a plant covered roof, like ‘A garden placed on a few tree trunks’ and designed to be as attractive when viewed from the ground as from a balcony. The hard-wearing concrete swivel seats are equipped with plugs and have mini tables attached to rest an elbow, a book or a computer. A large touch screen provides updated information about services in the city: guides, news and augmented reality for tourists and visitors who are not online. Escale Numérique is a forerunner for a new range of urban architecture where virtual reality dictates the shape of what is real in order to live with even greater fluidity.