Patrick Bouchain is a French architect who designs situations as much as he designs buildings, taking on a number of other roles including that of developer, political advisor, site manager, fundraiser and performer. Most of his projects begin with establishing a network of interested people, collaborators, residents, local government officials, neighbourhood groups etc. Once this network is in place, the site is activated socially, usually through opening a small space that functions as a restaurant, site office and consultation area where passers-by and interested people can find out about the project, give their views, or simply watch a film. This initial phase creates relationships between the architects, builders and local people and creates uses for the site before anything permanent is built. Through such an approach Bouchain’s projects are sustainable in the real sense of the word, ensuring that what is finally constructed is appropriate and useful for the site and makes good use of resources. Many of the projects are on an urban scale and include the reuse and refurbishments of old industrial buildings through minimum intervention.
Daniel Buren was born in Boulogne-Billancourt in 1938. In the early 1960s, he developed a radical art form which played simultaneously on an economy of means and the relationship between the support and the medium. In 1965, when he was working on paintings combining circular forms and stripes of various sizes and colours, he decided to use industrial canvas with 8.7 cm wide vertical stripes (white alternating with a colour). This versatile support was the starting point for research into what painting is, how it is presented and, more broadly, the physical and social environment in which an artist works. His works soon systematically questioned the place in which and for which they were designed. At first that meant streets, in 1965, and then galleries, museums, landscapes or architectural structures. For these installations he coined the expression "work in situ." The term has characterised a large part of his production ever since. The stripes, which he calls "a visual tool", are used to focus attention on the significant features of the place in which he works. He deploys them within specific and sometimes complex arrangements combining painting, sculpture and architecture. His works "in situ" play on viewpoints, spaces, colours, light, motion, the environment, outlines and projection; they may be unashamedly decorative or radically transform the venue.