Based in Saint-Etienne (Loire – France) Benoît Roche is a graphic designer, painter, photographer and video artist.
For more than 15 years he has been interested in the image in all its forms, driven by a particular passion for street-art and murals. Today he offers his skills as a painter and mural designer for companies and communities.
He has also founded, with his brother, a virtual gallery for buying and reselling street-art.
You worked this summer 2020 on a particular wall design project in the heart of Saint-Etienne, what is it about?
I realized during all this summer a large mural fresco with a particular design and lettering to dress the West and North facades of the Verrière Fauriel, a large emblematic building in downtown Saint-Etienne.
It is a historic building, built between 1893 and 1919, topped by a large glass pyramid that rises to more than thirty meters. It is a large-scale project that took me, for the first time in my career, to working heights of more than ten meters.
What exactly does your wall design project consist of?
The administrators of this new place wanted to give a ” coup de tampon ” to the building’s facades. The exterior design had to express the modernization of the site towards its new functions while respecting the historic architecture of this building, which is symbolic of the city.
I therefore proposed to inscribe the name of the building in full letters LA VERRIÈRE, at the top and in large format so that it would be visible from afar; and straddling the two façades, West and North, in order to break the very horizontal perspective of the building. For the lettering, we decided to use the ‘classical’ typography of the original ManuFrance pediment. Finally, to underline the architectural originality of the large pyramid-shaped glass roof, I proposed a large geometrical fresco, which extends the lines of the pyramid in reverse symmetry.
So you have used for the first time an HA20 articulated aerial platform from Haulotte's new Pulseo range?
It’s even the first time (at all) that I’ve used an aerial work platform. Until now I have only worked at heights using ladders or scaffolding. However, driving a basket has been a dream and an ambition for a long time. In my job, the ability to drive aerial work platforms is a considerable plus. So I passed the CACES nacelle certification authorized at the beginning of the year to start this project.
As a bonus, I was fortunate enough to be able to start with two Haulotte models: first a 16-meter model – HA16 RTJ – during the first part of the project, then a HA20 model from the new Pulseo range with a 20-meter range.
What were your impressions?
As far as the piloting of the two gondolas is concerned, after the first apprehension, I quickly felt confident and safe and I was able to work efficiently. These are very imposing machines but paradoxically they are very easy to drive and handle.
With the 100% electric HA20 Pulseo model, I particularly appreciated the very low noise level of the engines and the total absence of gas emissions, very respectful of the direct environment. On this project I worked in the city center above open parking lots with a lot of crosswalks. With this gondola you feel at ease with your work and at ease with others all around. Finally, the lighting of the basket, which is automatically activated when the light becomes too low, allowed me to extend my work sessions at nightfall and meet my deadlines.
When does your wall design project end?
The project of creation started in my studio in January and ended this month of August with the finalization of the fresco and the façade paintings. The inauguration of the “Verrière Fauriel” and its opening to the general public is scheduled for September.
Benoît Roche wanted to express his special thanks to ;
Jean Pierre Rigaud and Michel Ayrault, the 2 photographers who follow him in his projects,
Denis and Alioshe who came to lend a hand to him in the field,
the Haulotte company for the gracious loan of this new electric nacelle HA20 Pulseo,
the Brosserie Selle de Saint Brieuc for having created the prototype of this short-handled brush that allowed him to paint straight lines.
Crédit photo : Louis Perrin