Thierry Danet, Director of Artefact, La Laiterie and Ososphère
Here’s a man who’s never been afraid to roll up his sleeves and be a standard bearer for Strasbourg. He’s passionate about digital arts – all arts in fact, music, the lot! He’s also passionate about the city and it’s a subject which fascinates him: what buildings for the city, what future, what inhabitants and what public spaces?
Why did you stay in Strasbourg ?
It was one of the towns we landed in when my family was constantly on the move. I arrived here when I was 15 and decided to stay, which was quite something to do as the rest of the family moved on the year after. I’ve now been in Strasbourg for 35 years.
How, jobwise, is Strasbourg the place to be ?
I don’t know how much Strasbourg is the place to be, but in any case it’s a place where things get done, and that’s one of the most important things about the city. It’s a city which does a lot of constructing, and as constructing is part and parcel of my job, it’s a decisive element.
How could you sum Strasbourg up in 3 words?
I’d choose paradoxical, moving and persistent. And then I’d choose 3 more: landscape, brick and egregore.
Which of the values embodied by Strasbourg best match your personality?
I can see myself in the paradoxical part of Strasbourg, because for me personally, a paradox is something dynamic, unless it runs into its own contradictions, at which point it turns into a stumbling block. It’s one of the dynamics driving life.
What for you is the most moving thing about Strasbourg?
It’s both the persistence of things, which attaches us to people who lived long before us and others who’ll live long after us, and at the same time there’s an ongoing learning dynamic.
A highlight of your life in Strasbourg ?
There’s one, relatively recent, that I’d like to choose, it’s when with Ososphère, we were part of the tram that went over the Rhine, that crossed the border into Kehl in Germany. It was incredibly moving to see people walking over the bridge in either direction, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Right at a time when the question of borders is squarely in the public eye.
When you have visitors, what kind of idea do they have of Strasbourg and what do they think once they’ve got to know the city better?
One of the things that really fascinates visitors who I take round Strasbourg is this idea of persistence, the appetite for things modern. It’s that amalgam where things ancient remain unsubmerged by things new.
How does Strasbourg embody optimism?
It’s a city where you feel that it isn’t just chance that has made things as they are.
Strasbourg – best on foot, on a bike, on an electric scooter, by tram or by bus?
Strasbourg is a wonderful city for walking round, situation-wise, but also a great town for riding about on your bike. The tram and the waterways can also be a great experience.
A circuit you can recommend?
My ideal circuit in Strasbourg is wandering around, urban drifting, if you like.
The best spot for chilling?
I don’t know if it’s the best spot for chilling, but it’s one of my favourite places and it’s what I call Cape Pylon. It’s at the tip of the piece of land jutting out into the water opposite the flour mills and a couple of cable-lengths from the malting plants, the Coop and the port, with the oil storage depot and the roads to the Rhine in the background.
A perfect Sunday morning in Strasbourg?
Unless you hate Sundays, Sunday morning in Strasbourg is a conversational Sunday, when you sit round the table and let the talking flow.
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