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Nauti-poulpe is an artwork of a giant squid straight out of the Jules Verne novel “20 000 leagues under the sea”. It is the result of a long project in the city of Amiens. The Nauti-poulpe is also the main character in the Obscure Cities album Le retour du capitaine Nemo.

The idea is envisioned in 2019 by artistic director François Schuiten, landscape gardener Thierry Huau, designer Pierre Matter and lighting designer agency Hervé Audibert,

Interscene / F. Schuiten / P. Matter / Atelier Audibert

The project was projected for the square in front of the railroad station of Amiens. A giant mechanic squid in the middle of vegetation of bamboo with light and sound effects. Its project name was Octopus garden 1).

This art work is the first stage of the future journey “in the footsteps of Jules Verne” which will pass through the circus, the town hall, the Madeleine cemetery and of course the Maison de Jules Verne 2). his project will also and above all make it possible to identify Amiens as THE city of Jules Verne, where he lived, where he was elected municipal councillor and where he is now buried 3).

Les Voyages Lumineux

Interscene / F. Schuiten / P. Matter / Atelier Audibert

The first phase included the installation of bamboos from 8 to 12 meters high, thus vegetating the station area which was very empty. A luminous and sonorous fresco enlived the whole 4). Due to the Covid-19 pandemic work on the artwork was delayed until 2021.

The first images of the light projection were published in 2021.

Early 2023 original engravings from 5 major novels by Jules Verne were projected with light on a 4-meter high water wall. The five novels are:

  • 5 weeks in a balloon
  • 20 miles under the sea
  • Journey to the centre of the earth
  • From the Earth to the Moon
  • Robur the Conqueror

The projection, called Les voyages lumineux, was shown every evening from 5.30pm to 9.30pm in front of the railway station.

A short video about this installation was published in February 2023 by the city of Amiens.

Also Pascal Mériaux 5) made a video of the installation.

Le Retour du Capitaine Nemo

During a meeting in Amiens in June 2022 François Schuiten talked about this project. He explained that the development of the sculpture is going slowly. It even seems that the final sculpture isn't fit for the projected place in front of the train station. A new place is being searched for. During the meeting François also confirmed that the next album of the Obscure Cities will take place in Amiens.

Nicolas Rivoal made the following pictures of this event.


The second phase of the project will see the arrival of the giant bronze squid, which will come alive by twirling its long tentacles in the middle of a giant bamboo plantation and a supernatural and fantastic mist 6). This phase by sculptor Pierre Matter was projected for 2023. The final version will consist of a hundred pieces, designed to simplify their movement 7).

Once in Amiens, it will be welded and will not move anymore. We have planned lights for night lighting that will give it all its splendor”, according to Pierre Matter 8).

This monumental bronze, with a height of 6 m and an estimated weight of 12 tons, will take the form of a marine animal evoking both the Nautilus and the octopus whose strangeness fascinated Jules Verne.

Pierre Matter, François Schuiten, Alain Gest during the reveal of the maquette in Amiens during RDVBD 2023

In 2023 Amiens Aménagement, the company responsible for accompanying the project, decides to leave the forecourt of the station 9). A new place was found in the Halle Freyssinet, the place where the Rendez-vous de la BD d'Amiens have been held for the last years.

With the Nauti-poulpe, “we are pulling a thread between the ancient city and the evolutions of urbanization” notes François Schuiten. The realization itself, designed as a set of parts to be assembled, will not be definitively installed in Amiens until early 2025 10).

The Nauti-Poulpe will settle at the highest point of a walk that will descend, on terraces and balconies, towards Nisso Pelossof Park and the river, thus reinforcing the desired emergence effect. Everything suggests that the animal will thus have go up the river, bringing a piece of the imagination of the seas to the railway world 11).

In the meantime, the Nauti-poulpe will pass through Brussels - settling in front of the Palace of Justice from December 2024 to February 2025 as a partly completed work 12).

But the Nauti-poulpe will first open the RDVBD of Amiens since a model will be inaugurated on June 3,2023 in the very heart of the Freyssinet hall. “Il s’agit d’avoir envie des villes, de les rendre plus désirables. De ce triple rapport — l’eau, l’œuvre littéraire et l’urbanisme —, nous alimentons Pierre et moi la “machine à imaginaire”, qui nous est, à nous humains, indispensable”, according to Schuiten 13).


The design of the sculpture is made by François Schuiten. The design was revealed during 24es Rendez-Vous de la Bande Dessinée d'Amiens in 2019.


Pierre Matter is responsible for the build of the Nauti-Poulpe.

Matter shared a first video of the build in October 2023.

a second video was published in November 2023.

Visit foundry

Pierre Matter and François Schuiten visited the foundry “Foundry De Saint Sauveur” in March 2024 to see the work in progress. France 3 Hauts-de-France made the following report 14).

Photos by Pierre Matter 15) and Pascal Mériaux 16).


Bruno Letort will be responsible for the sounds and music. The music piece “Black Museum” was recorded in March 2020.

The music was mixed in Octophonic sound at studio Dada by Bruno Letort in December 2021.

Letort used his music and the images of Schuiten during a performance called Multibrain in November 2022.

See also