Harbour city break

Prototypes made by
Atelier du Marais
Acacia wood, steel, paint

Situated by the Saint-Nazaire port, six little docking houses made in 50’s architecture, are hosting the Lamaneurs. They are professional seamen on land that guide the ships going in and out of the harbour and fasten them safely at quay. A lamaneur is guarding and monitoring the harbour, empathically looking after any vessel passing through. Day and night. Saint-Nazaire is a workers city. Its centre is a place you go through or jump into to buy something on your way home, without really linger or take part in a social urban life. We wished to offer spaces for the Nazariens to indulge in a well deserved break.

The Nazairiens

Following our immersive process, we encounter the Saint-Nazaire citizens and stakeholders in the middle of the city centre for several weeks, to enhance an empathic dialog and collect their stories related to their identity and their relations with their city. During the second world war, they suffered a lot by the nearly total destruction of the city; the harbour is still hosting the ghost of this era within the massive submarine concrete base, still being there as the cost of deconstructing it is as enormous as its foundations. Some of our collected insights brought us to speculate that after the war, the city decided to relocate the city centre away from its original place, the harbour, to turn back to its painful memories and build a future. The fact is now that the city in its core still belongs to the harbour. And the rebuilt city centre is nameless, surrounded by neighbourhoods having a narrative and a name: the city centre still does not, consequence of a post war vision, which did not connected with the essence of the place: the ocean. To operate a new collective pride and memory, we decided to focus on their identity, their meaning in life. And nothing will be more powerful than caring about the guardians angels of the harbour: the loose men, or the Lamaneurs in French.


Belonging is a result of the two previous scenarios. Belonging is a feeling based on the collective identity, shared rituals and a collective imagination. The common identity shows what people really share, the rituals which make everyone feel physically and emotionally connected. The collective imagination is filled with events, artistic expressions, and traditions which have touched everyone. Ideal Lab’s Agents were fascinated by the significance of manual traditions in both cities - creating, fixing, making, restoring - and their absence in the public space. Both cities have a typical architecture (wood for Florø, post-war rational planning for Saint-Nazaire) which is sometimes not well taken care of nor embraced. The collective transformation process, through work and the reclaiming of public space, are the main themes of this scenario. The pass-stop use of the city for practicalities, gave us the idea to design seats that invite the busy habitants to slow down, enjoy and take a break. Inspired by the locksman, who guides the boats into and out of the port, the urban seats “Lamaneur” take their shape from the architecture of the 50’s locks-houses.

The Lamaneurs

We created the Lamaneurs, a series of urban furnitures that invite the habitants to slow down and enjoy their city. Like the lamaneur guiding the ship, these furnitures are taking care of people. The shapes are taken from the docking houses that have a rounded front to provide a wide angle visibility and the metal and wood materials where selected from the ship building artisan industries we collaborated with. Four versions of Lamaneurs each with its own attitude, has been created inspired by their rituals: Lunch break, Coffee break, Long watch and Power nap. Since 2018, Les Lamaneurs are part of the permanent collection of Sogn og Fjordane Contemporary Art fund.


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