The Heron’s Tree (L’Arbre aux Hérons)- the greatest technological, artistic, and industrial challenge, the most ambitious project ever undertaken by Les Machines de l’île and the Co La Machine. Inspired by the worlds of Jules Verne and Leonardo Da Vinci, it will be the largest hanging garden built since ancient Babylon. A giant and interactive sculpture made of steel, more than 50m(165ft) in diameter and 30m(100ft) high – the most majestic garden on Earth. It was 2007 when the first ideas came and planning started. Now in 2020, this is a project deep in its development. From 2017-2019 final planning took place, the last 3 years up to 2022 will be the construction period. French masterminds will place this magnificence down along the banks of the Loire River, a few meters away from the house Jules Verne spent his teenage years in and where Jean-Jacques Audubon grew up and drew his first herons. The idea that came from brilliant minds of François Delaroziere and Pierre Orefice, ended up being a true team effort.
Two-thirds of the 35 million euro project cost is being covered by public funding. The rest was successfully crowdfunded – 373,525€ gathered, over the 7 weeks of the campaign, thanks to the 5511 friends of the Herons’ Tree! The grand opening is set for 2022 at the Chantenay quarry. From the sketches and smaller prototypes, we could learn exactly what will be the final product. “Giant steel tree topped with two herons that each carry twenty passengers on circular flights. Half of the tree’s twenty-two branches can be traversed on foot by visitors, and all of the branches will support hanging terraces of plants and gardens to create a lush ecosystem.” Until we see it with our own eyes, here are the assuring words from the French geniuses: “In a century, the Herons’ Tree will welcome your grandchildren!”