Luc Schuiten has designed various solutions for the abandoned corners of the city to bring a little poetry, nature but also housing for the homeless. He has listed 300 places in Brussels and only the municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean has provided him with a building plot: the one in which ruled András Pándy, a pastor of Hungarian origin, convicted with his daughter of the assassination of six members from his family.

Project name: Vertical gardens
Address: everywhere
Assignation/Destination: Housing

Technical sheet of this architecture video clip
Journalist : Emma C. Dessouroux
Cameraman : Emanuel Pinto / EpiProd
Photographies : Mister Emma

Editing : Emma C. Dessouroux / Cristina Dias
Direction : Emma C. Dessouroux
Production : Les Délires Productions

Translation : Comtrans
Subtitles : Les Délires Productions

English Subtitles

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I started 25 years ago now

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with vertical gardens.

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To organize

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places that have been left
behind in the city,

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where I create different solutions

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to bring,

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first of all nature,

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but also a corner of poetry,
a breath of fresh air,

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create a kind of mesh

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in the plant spaces

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to be able to

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reintroduce life, and have this

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open and yet confined nature.

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We are human beings and our relationship

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with each other is fundamental.

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So I tried to

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introduce this additional constraint

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into my gardens.

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And that gave this work

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a meaning that I didn’t have at the start.

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But it was also very logical to say

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that the small spaces,
these areas left behind,

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could be very suitable for
those left behind

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by the…

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progress,

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the development of the city,
its sophistication.

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We worked on all
the municipalities in Brussels,

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19 municipalities.

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We found more than 300 pieces of land,
like that, abandoned,

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without a particular use.

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That’s not interesting for developers.

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We listed them, then we went to see…

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different municipalities.

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We were very well received in some places,

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and in others, not at all.

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Well it’s part of life.

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The first municipality to react positively

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and give us

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some land for a 30-year-long lease,

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was Molenbeek,

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which had some land,
just at a corner in front of the canal

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where there was a house

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owned by Andras Pándy

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who made headlines more than 10 years ago

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when he murdered his own family.

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And the house was destroyed.

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And it was a real blight.

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And very, very small,

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so difficult to do something with it,

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so it would’ve remained a blight,
if we hadn’t created this project.

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We’ve started looking for sponsors.

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We’ve already found part of the money,
a small part.

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But we must find the rest.

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And that can be done
when you have a building permit.

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We won’t get money for a building

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that we can’t even be sure we will have.

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In the way we approach the problem

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of relocating people who,

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before were homeless,
who are no longer homeless,

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is not to stigmatize them,

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to say the area

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shouldn’t have any kind of identity,

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a home for the homeless.
Quite the contrary.

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We want to give an architectural
and environmental value

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to our construction.

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In terms of liabilities,
there will be very little needed to use.

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All materials will be eco-sourced

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so they will have absorbed CO2
rather than produced it.

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We want our work to be

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part of an ecological approach

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and sustainable development.

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There is a revitalization part to it,

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because we think it can help

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with reintegration,
improving our contact with nature.

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They will have balconies
that will overlook the street,

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to keep contact with the street

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that they were on for so long.

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But from an opposite viewpoint.

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They have always seen people go from

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the top to the bottom,
those lying on the sidewalk.

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Now they’ll see them going
from the bottom to the top.

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By reversing the viewpoint,
we reverse behavior, attitudes.

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That’s a bit like what we’re trying to do.

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But above all, we don’t want it to be

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clearly identified as
housing for the homeless.

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We would like it to be a home that is

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dignified and where everyone
would want to live.

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Because what is most important ultimately

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is the respect and dignity
that everyone can

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look each other in the eye,

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or the way they are, where they are,

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makes them feel good.

French Subtitles

1
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J’ai commencé il y a 25 ans maintenant

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avec les jardins verticaux.

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À mettre en scène

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les endroits qui sont laissés
pour compte dans la ville,

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les chancres où j’ai imaginé
différentes solutions

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pour y amener

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d’abord de la nature

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mais aussi un coin de poésie,
une respiration,

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créer une sorte de maillage

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dans les espaces

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végétaux pour pouvoir

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y réintroduire la vie
et avoir ces ouvertures

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sur la nature, mais ponctuelles.

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Nous sommes des êtres humains
et notre relation

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avec l’autre est fondamentale.

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Donc j’ai cherché

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à introduire dans mes jardins

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cette contrainte supplémentaire.

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Et ça a donné à ce travail

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un sens que je n’avais pas au départ.

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Mais c’était aussi
d’une très grande logique de dire

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que les petits espaces,
ces chancres laissés pour compte

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pouvaient très bien convenir
aux laissés-pour-compte

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de la…

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du progrès,

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du développement de la ville,
de sa sophistication.

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Nous avons travaillé sur l’ensemble
des communes de Bruxelles,

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les 19 communes.

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On a trouvé plus de 300 terrains,
comme ça, abandonnés,

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donc sans vocation particulière.

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Pas intéressants pour un promoteur.

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On les a répertoriés,
puis on est allé voir les…

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les différentes communes.

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On a été très bien accueillis
dans certaines communes,

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pas du tout dans d’autres.

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Bon ça fait partie un peu de la vie.

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La première commune à réagir positivement

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et à nous donner

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un terrain dans un bail emphytéotique
de 30 ans,

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c’est Molenbeek. Et là,

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y avait un terrain,
juste à un coin en face du canal

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qui était une maison qui était occupée

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par Andras Pándy

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qui a défrayé la chronique
il y a plus de dix ans

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dans la manière dont il a traité
sa propre famille.

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Et la maison a été détruite.

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Et c’était un véritable chancre.

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Et très, très petit,

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donc difficile d’en faire quelque chose.

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Donc qui serait resté un chancre
si on n’avait pas mis ici ce projet.

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On va commencer à chercher des sponsors.

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On a déjà trouvé une partie de la somme,
une petite partie.

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Il faut trouver tout le restant.

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Et ça on peut le faire
quand on a un permis de bâtir.

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On ne va pas chercher de l’argent
pour une construction

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dont on ne peut même pas
être sûrs qu’on l’aura.

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Dans la manière dont on aborde le problème

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de reloger

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des gens qui étaient avant des sans-abri,
qui ne le sont plus,

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c’est de ne surtout pas les stigmatiser,

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donc le coin

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ne devrait pas du tout avoir l’identité

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d’un logement pour un sans-abri,
tout au contraire.

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Nous voulons donner une valeur
architecturale et environnementale

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à notre construction.

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On va être au niveau du passif,
il y aura très peu de choses à consommer.

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Tous les matériaux seront bio-sourcés

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donc ils auront absorbé du CO2
plutôt que d’en produire.

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Nous voulons que notre travail s’inscrive

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dans une démarche écologique

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et le développement durable.

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Il y a une partie qui est revitalisée

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parce que nous pensons que ça peut aider

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à la réinsertion,
le contact avec la nature.

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Ils auront des balcons
qui vont donner sur la rue,

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pour garder ce contact avec la rue

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qu’ils ont eu pendant si longtemps.

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Mais dans un regard inversé.

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Ils ont toujours vu les gens passer

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de bas en haut,
eux qui sont allongés sur le trottoir.

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Et là ils verront les gens
passer de haut en bas.

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En inversant le regard, on inverse
le comportement, les attitudes.

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Et c’est un peu
ce que nous cherchons à faire.

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Mais surtout, nous voulons
que ce ne soit pas

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identifié clairement comme étant
l’habitation des sans-abri.

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On voudrait que ce soit
une habitation qui soit

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digne et dans laquelle tout le monde
aurait envie d’habiter.

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Parce que ce qui est
le plus important finalement,

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c’est le respect et la dignité,
que chacun puisse

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échanger des regards,

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où la manière dont ils se situent,
dont ils se trouvent

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permette de se sentir bien.