Founded in 2018 by two childhood friends, the artist collective Around The Block explores the French capital in a series of poetic posters. Discover some of their creations inspired by the neighborhoods of Eastern Paris!
Consisting in Morgan, who works as an architect, and Corentin, a communication manager in the animation industry, Around The Block brings a fresh perspective to the landmarks dear to Parisians. Beyond ubiquitous sites such as the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, the capital is replete with architectural treasures that are too often overlooked, yet recognizable at first sight.
Favoring “dreamlike and intimate” atmospheres against a backdrop of night sky, the collective’s creations will surely appeal to admirers of the City of Light. From the Folies of La Villette to the elevated metro crossing the Bercy bridge, let’s take a look at some of our favorite illustrations of Eastern Paris’ iconic sites:
Our questions to the artist collective Around The Block: Why did you choose to illustrate these places in particular?
“Their selection by arrondissements (districts) is not random, and is often tinged with affect. Some were chosen because they are world-renowned landmarks, others for their architectural estheticism. Some are more confidential sites that are anchored in the daily life of Parisians.”
Could you describe the artistic process behind the creation of your posters?
“Morgan, the architect of the duo, has carte blanche in terms of technique. He first collects modelings of Parisian buildings and landmarks. The choice of the perspective is the first artistic stance. Morgan uses Photoshop to add details, shades, and some poetic elements. Then he works on coloring, with an easily identifiable palette.”
All of Paris seems to inspire you – even so, do you have one or several favorite neighborhoods?
“Regarding our idea to depict each arrondissement, we have no trouble finding inspiration, regardless of the neighborhood. Indeed there are areas we know more than others, either because we lived there or visit them often – especially around the 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements.
In the case of these neighborhoods, affect is clearly involved because we have a more personal vision. Living there ended up revealing places and monuments that could have been overlooked while just taking a walk. When you don’t live in a city, in a neighborhood, there are many places you pass by with no consideration. Once you settle there, you apprehend them differently, you realize the importance they have locally.
And since we’re mentioning subjectivity, we could add that the 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements are the last bastions of a certain idea of multiculturalism within Paris proper: in terms of culture, population, etc. This is what makes their charm… and inspires us!”
Some critics dread to see Paris become a “museum city”, whereas others do not seem very enthused by the architectural innovations that have recently appeared or are currently in the pipeline across the capital. As artists, how do you look at this very unique Parisian urbanism?
“What we’re trying to represent through our illustrations is the richness of the Parisian urban landscape, especially the singularities of its different neighborhoods. As illustrators, we’re excited to see contemporary buildings standing alongside a more classic architecture, with all the influential schools of architecture the capital has witnessed throughout history. The city has to be made and remade over itself, all the while keeping the essence of these places intact. According to us, the challenge resides in finding a fair balance between institutionalization of the heritage and innovation.”
What can we expect from Around The Block in 2020 ?
“To keep creating: we have a lot of ideas and we’d like to illustrate each arrondissement. We made a ‘pop-up’ label for a Parisian beer in partnership with La Brasserie Fondamentale. We’re preparing an illustration for a local newspaper, namely Paris Lights Up! The idea is to keep working on local collaborations, as long as we enjoy the product or concept.
We’re in contact with venues to exhibit our posters for a limited time (in bars, restaurants, and even an indoor climbing gym). We like the idea of offering an ephemeral decoration that can be adjusted and adapted to different places. The project, present and future, also includes working with people we appreciate.”
Posters by Around The Block are available in numbered large formats at Slow Galerie, a trailblazing Eastern Paris gallery dedicated to graphic arts and illustrations.
Several Parisian shops also feature the collective’s posters, including:
– Enograph (89 Rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris)
– La Super Marquette (65 Rue Rambuteau, 75004 Paris)
– Place A (50 rue de Rochechouart, 75009 Paris)
– Mamamushi (28 Rue du Château d’Eau, 75010 Paris)
– Pauline et Julie (92 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris)
– We Are Paris (13 Rue Oberkampf, 75011 Paris).
– Louisette (29 rue Véron, 75018 Paris)
The whole collection is also available online.
Around The Block
Affiches Around the Block
Print in France
Paper: Rough High White 200 grs
Format: A3 (29,7*42 cm)