Les Machines de l’île are a totally unprecedented artistic project. Born from the imaginations of François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, it is at the crossroads of Jules Verne’s "invented worlds", the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci, and of Nantes’ industrial history, on the exceptional site of the former shipyards.

Some strange machines came to populate the Île de Nantes. After the Grand Éléphant, this is now the turn of a Manta Ray, a Sea Snake and of all kinds of incredible boats to take possession of the banks of the Loire River. These uncommon machines were born from the hands of the constructors of the company La Machine and came to life in between those of Les Machines de l’île, in the public eye. Their backwards and forwards between the building workshop and the Galerie give impetus to the movement at the heart of the former Dubigeon naves. They convey a mysterious reality to this island just like the time when vessels were launched there for all the trips of the world.

Demonstrating the creative process

The two designers also chose to put the entire creative process on display, from the very first sketches drawn by François Delarozière. The materials are in their natural state, and the mechanisms are all visible. The building process can be seen for all the sculptures, whether steel or wood.

Being able to watch the workshop of the company La Machine in activity enhances this unprecedented tour / performance that is both entertaining and educational.

A story told by the machinists

The machinists who are working to place the Machines in motion and bring them to life explain how the mechanisms work and how they were developed. During the tour / performance the Machines periodically awaken, suddenly turning into animals or monsters.

The universe of the Machines can be enjoyed by all generations and is perfect for family and group outings.

There’s no separation between the adult world and the world of children. Parents are not only accompanying, they are also concerned with the awakening of their children, and they share their trip and discover behind the animal the machine in motion.

The Arbre aux Hérons

On July 2016, Johanna Rolland, Mayor of Nantes and Presidente of Nantes Métropole an-nounced the launch of The Herons Tree project. It will be carried out over 5 years, the grand opening thus set for 2021.

learn more about the Arbre aux Hérons


Croquis du Grand Eléphant  - © François Delarozière
  • Nantes Métropole - Communauté Urbaine
  • Crédit Mutuel
  • Harmonie Mutuelle
  • Ardissa