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TICA et Barreau & Charbonnet : Refuge de l’Arche

Created in 1974 by Christian Huchedé, philanthropist and animal lover, Refuge de l'Arche is a haven for wild animals that are cared for, pampered and especially not barricaded for the pleasure of tourists. A unique park, a victim of its success, so that it was soon necessary to imagine a new welcome area for all the curious who wish to discover this little piece of savanna in the heart of the Pays de la Loire.

Entrusted to the TICA agency and to the designers of Barreau & Charbonnet, the project includes the junction, the rehabilitation and the transformation of two existing buildings: the building of reception of 420 square meters, located in the west, is thus transformed into staff wing; and the picnic hall, positioned to the east, becomes an animated space. The whole is now linked by an extension of 380 square meters hosting the gallery of portraits, in a layout that is attractive and educational, given the large number of visits, including school, organized within the institution.

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The scenography developed throughout the construction is based on a dialogue between Man, nature and animals. Indeed, to begin its journey, the visitor enters a box office entirely covered with high-pressure sand-blasted wood - revealing the veins of the material -, some ceiling panels are decorated with representations of raptors occupying the park. The furniture, entirely designed by Barreau and Charbonnet, reinterprets elements present in nature, such as the log that is found in a bench or drawer handles. The journey starts with a sinuous "introductory" airlock with walls covered with several layers of felt, whose motifs evoke the scales of reptiles. A curious corridor then leads to the Gallery of Portraits, where easels, also imagined from the figure of the log, show the different species that can be found in the refuge. If all the walls are decorated with other illustrations or explanatory booklets, one of them, much more colorful, is completely covered with a fresco depicting a utopian environment where wild animals evolve between them, like the Refuge of the Ark.

A group that values ​​more than ever the animal project of Christian Huchedé.

To learn more, visit the Barreau & Charbonnet site

Photographs: DR

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