New social housing complexes built in Montpellier must now include an original work of art, officials of this booming city in the south of France said on Wednesday, which they want to turn into an “open-air museum”.

“This is a first in France, but I think we will quickly be copied,” said Numa Hambursin, who heads Copaqo, the committee responsible for “artistic steering” during the presentation of the first selected works. of the initiative. Copaqo was launched by the public group Altémed at the request of Michaël Delafosse, mayor of the city of Montpellier, candidate for the 2028 European Capital of Culture.

In February 2022, during the allocation of 100 lots for the construction of 8,000 social or middle-income housing units, a clause was added to the developers’ specifications, the authorities recalled. This clause specifies that each promoter must now integrate into their project a work validated by Copaqo, whether it is a sculpture, street art, a fresco or an “installation”, specified Numa Hambursin , at the head of the Mo.Co. (Montpellier Contemporain), an institution bringing together the School of Fine Arts and the two locations of the city’s contemporary art museum.

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The creation of a steering committee of around twenty members will “avoid obvious errors of attribution and that it is always the same (…) selected”, specified Numa Hambursin, who will be surrounded by experts in contemporary art, architects, town planners and representatives of the real estate sector.

The budget allocated to each work must be at least 1% of the value of the land cost of the lot (cost of land, servicing, etc.), with a minimum floor of 10,000 euros. The works will remain in the public collections of the metropolis. By 2026, around a hundred works, some of which will be visible from public spaces and others installed in the common areas of buildings, should be validated and launched, corresponding to an investment of several hundred million euros. euros.

“Currently, the twenty validated projects range from 15,000 to more than 100,000 euros, with a fair distribution between works proposed by young artists and established talents, and between those present locally and those active at the national and international level,” said specified the director of Mo.Co.

We can cite an installation by Elisa Fantozzi, made of a deck chair to which multicolored balloons are attached, which will be installed near a building built by the Kaufman developers