01 Juillet 2016
Ricciotti : admiration exercice of Marseille port drivers
In the Old Port of Marseille, the Phocée, a floating barge at the foot of Fort St. Jean, has just revamped. This strange vessel that is looking more like an industrial pavilion than a boat is actually a miniature shipyard where the pilot boats are building and repairing : these almost unsinkable speedboats allow pilots of the Port of Marseille-Fos to tackle by any weather tankers and ships to safely take them to dock.
Anchored there for over two centuries, but under the threat of relocation, the pilots called in to help Rudy Ricciotti. The only one, able to legitimize their presence in front of the museum. Seduced by their universe, the Southern architect did not need to be asked twice.
This is a very local story. A story of men like the architect like them. Since Gaston Defferre, former Mayor, the Marseille Port drivers are on tenterhooks: their floating pontoon deemed unsightly may be displaced to give way to pleasure boats. Or the arrival and success of Mucem only increased the supposed monstrosity pontoon camped in front of the museum … The fate of Phocaea in the port of Massilia seems more uncertain than ever.
Who else that Rudy Ricciotti, the architect of Mucem itself, could allow, for his intervention to save the jetty, or at least the part of the cohesive whole that the new entity is Fort Saint-Jean – MUCEM? Give visibility, reputation among the Marseillais who pass by without noticing? If the history of drivers is one with that of the Old Port, occupation, although public interest, remains little known and their omnipresence in the port, in short, very discreet. The drivers do their job without making waves. In 1821, several years after a decree signed by Napoleon giving birth to the corporation of Marseille drivers, a first wooden bridge, “a pussy” was set up in the Old Port for mooring pilot boats, exactly in the place now occupied by the Phocée.
Coastal drivers (or linesmen) emerged with the birth of maritime trade in ancient times to protect the vessels and their cargo from the wreck. A science of the maneuver, the pilot joined knowledge of ports and coasts, currents and dangers. He commanded maneuver in ports using the moorings. It was originally fisherman is familiar with the funds and their traps. Wars in economic blockade, dark hours in periods of prosperity, pilots have developed over the centuries a sense of extraordinary adaptation. Today, most of the pilot activity is in the Gulf ports of Fos and the Etang de Berre. They have a fleet of twelve fast pilot boats, including eight with a length of 12 meters and a length of 4 to 17 meters. The “rowdy” as they are affectionately known, because they come in all weather, every day, all year.
The Phocée, it’s the atelier ship which went out all these ultra-fast boats manufactured on board since 1967, designed and developed by the drivers and carpenters to always better stick to the challenges of the profession. Under its white roof and behind its white facades, this is a real factory, a shipyard also for repairing damaged vessels closer to their area of operation. When Rudy Ricciotti visit the place and discovered the raft to raise pilot boats out of the water for repair, as it passes from the mechanical workshop, the workshop electricity or carpentry workshop is a whole section of expertise in Marseilles and he discovered that the packs: “You have then an amazing tool! “. Culture and art will impress. His eyes shine when he talks about the courage of the pilots: “It is the admiration for those people who inspired me. I admire them. Must go … This is a very dangerous job. Because when you go up and you go down a cargo and there is a storm, we must see how these vessels are shaken … the pilot boats. Pilots have a rope ladder, type down and at some point, he must jump on the pilot boat … walking away, who is recovering … who stuffs completely, with the water flowing over the roof … It’s ultraviolent. “
From the first meeting, Rudy Ricciotti liked the subject. The workshop also has vessel propellers like any motor vessel built in the 60s, had been modified. Ricciotti therefore proposed to restore its original appearance: Putting the fireplace, pickled brass, paint it entirely in white, including the roof which had been painted red. An advisory role, especially and even coach: “I wanted to help them become aware of the institutional nature of what they are. “Technically, the intervention was therefore based on the verb, and aesthetic vision. On the aesthetics of the art it was back in shape. “They look” fool “because they are transported by the pilot boat: they have a jacket, they have no stripes … Yet these are the officers. They are very humble these people. They taste good. It is a beautiful work, it’s a job. “Couillon? Given their journey, they adopt, actually, a low profile. “To be a pilot, says the architect, pilot boat pilot who comes and brings out the boats, it must have been the school of the merchant marine, tank 5, then after to present the contest, you have fifteen years’ experience in command. It’s been 20 years … You come in 40 years. After, go to pilot the company drivers and then go to very large units in the port, must almost ten years experience. That means drivers returning very very large units in Fos or Marseille is guys who are 50 banks. “
“I especially made sure to give them confidence so that they identically restore their pontoon, ie with an ambiguity that is both that of the industrial work and that of the nautical book. Because Phocée, combines together stigmas of the boat, the yacht, the old ship … Painting it with beautiful colors, seaside like… In addition it had a red roof. You know why ? Because Gaston Defferre asked them to put tiles on top of it to make it look like Provencal, on a ship … you see the level of s … of the Mayor of Marseille …
So the roof must become white again: it is a color that repels heat …
No but, tiles, you realize? Tiles … Now we have to cover the boats with tiles so that they are in the image of Provence. You laugh ? But it is not funny. It’s quite tragic. “After several weeks of work, the Phocée regained its former vintage look. Rudy Ricciotti has inspired the idea of a book, “to celebrate the memory of labor. These are not jobs, they are businesses. That’s why I defend them. ” The Marseille-Fos steering union is now gathering 47 drivers, 53 employees and 11 pilot boats.