Tuesday, December 29, 2009
In addition to all the splendid new fountains gracing Fez, there are also plans afoot to upgrade the central square, Place Florence.
This plan has been submitted by the Mikou Design Studio, owned by Fez-born sisters Salwa and Selma Mikou. It's gratifying to see yet another proposal from Moroccan women architects and urban planners - Aziza Chaouni's plans for the tanneries and R'cif (see the story here) is another example.
Mikou Design Studio explains that Place Florence is situated in a strategic area in the new town, and has important pedestrian flow. The remodeling of the square aims to create a space for encounters and meetings at a pedestrian scale and the scale of the neighborhood, but also a place clearly identifiable as a representative part of the modern Fez.
"This symbolic place evokes Florence to the people of Fez, inspires and moves them", says the design team.
"It is a vehicle for dialogue between cultures and recalls the journey of architectural forms. In designing the square, we were inspired by a strong and symbolic figure in the Florentine urban landscape, the octagonal form of the Baptistery of San Giovanni. We felt it essential to bring strong architectural elements to Place Florence to give it an urban presence and limit it spatially.
Salwa and Selma Mikou attended school in Paris and Lausanne, and received their diplomas in Architecture and Urban design in 2000. Since then, they have worked in Paris, Doha, Los Angeles, Seoul, Beirut, Rabat, Kuwait and London. They founded Mikou Design Studio in 2005.