atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles

inaugurating the newly-renovated le magasin électrique  

 

On May 27, 2023, the LUMA Arles cultural center in Arles, France inaugurated the opening of a new workspace for its research and design laboratory, Atelier LUMA. Jointly with BC architects & studies and Assemble Studio, Atelier LUMA uplifted and transformed Le Magasin Électrique, a historical building in the Parc des Ateliers, into an experimental hub welcoming the public and professionals alike through visits, conferences, projections, and workshops. The building renovation process provided the opportunity to implement Lot 8, a long-term research project for developing a bioregional architecture. Following its inaugural weekend, this new space will continue to be animated by special events, regular programming, and a gradual transition of the laboratory’s activities to the newly-renovated building.

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
Bloc B Mezzanine view over central Agora with rammed earth and CEB block walls Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan

 

 

Beyond its converted function, the building is also the three-year site of an experimental building project designed to serve as a pilot program in the field of renovation. This includes the development of biomaterials anchored in the Arles bioregion and establishing a network for local and international expertise to share acquired knowledge. ‘Operating as a true large-scale prototype, the project brought together a wide array of local partners and served as the occasion for collective workshops and training sessions on the materials and techniques developed,’ writes LUMA Arles

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
facade of Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt

 

 

about atelier luma’s design and research mission in arles

 

Atelier LUMA (see more here) is deeply connected to its geographic and cultural environment: the Camargue region, the Alpilles mountains, and the Crau plains. While its first research projects took place in the Parc des Ateliers in 2016, the laboratory is the product of planning and reflection that began in 2008. The research seeks to identify issues impacting the bioregion and address appropriate solutions, mainly through valorizing local know-how and undervalued or wasted resources. The methods developed at Atelier LUMA are shared far beyond their originating bioregion, helping to guide local transition processes across the globe. 

 

We began Atelier LUMA by mapping the territory of Arles and the Camargue, identifying layers of resources and imagining ways they could be reassembled or reconfigured to contribute to its adaptation to changing environmental and social conditions,’ shares Jan Boelen, Artistic Director of Atelier LUMA. ‘This initial anchoring in a specific environmental and social space has come to shape our practices into bioregional ones, no matter where we are working‘. 

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
mezzanine, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan

 

 

using biosourced materials for the building renovation 

 

Renovated and buffed, Le Magasin Électrique is a ‘space of possibilities, a canvas,’ says Boelen. It naturally alludes to a building that is never finished, instead perpetually transforming through new discoveries, encounters, and stories. Following the building’s conditions, the laboratory collaborated with the team at Belgium-based BC architects & studies and UK-based Assemble studio (see more here) to renovate its space, starting from the coating of the facade to the socket covers. Structural elements such as walls and partitions were produced from waste earth and minerals, as well as agricultural coproducts.

 

The interiors’ acoustics and finishing were done with panels of sunflower fibers, rice straw, and soil from the bioregion. The terrazzo floor, bathroom tiles, stains, door handles, and light fixtures result from years of research into algae, salt, bioplastics, earth, and enamels in collaboration with local partners.

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
Bloc C during opening, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan

 

 

an experimental laboratory with exhibition spaces

 

Program-wise, Atelier LUMA’s new research and prototyping space consists of a biolab, wood, ceramics, textile, and DTP workshops, office spaces, a dye house, a materials testing lab, and a functional plant garden. The Agora, a large central space in the building, hosts temporary exhibitions and events open to the public. Ultimately, visitors are invited to discover its many activities from within by exploring the 2000 sqm of research laboratories, production workshops, and resource center and through an exhibition detailing the restoration of the building. To the curious readers, if you happen to be in Arles, make sure to tour that new center seeped in history, exploration, and research.

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 Bloc B window display, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Maria Lisogorskaya

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
Bioregional Design Practices exhibition in the Agora, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France

image © Victor&Simon – Iris Millot

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
Bioregional Design Practices exhibition in the Agora, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France

image © Victor&Simon – Joana Luz

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Bioregional Design Practices exhibition in the Agora, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Victor&Simon – Joana Luz

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
phyto-purification basin, Atelier LUMA garden, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
Atelier LUMA garden, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt

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Existing stone wall, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt 

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
prototypes from the first residency, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt

atelier LUMA uses algae, salt, and bioplastics to design it large-scale laboratory in arles
building site of Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt

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algae stained plaster prototype | image © Laurens Bekemans

 

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Bloc C, Mezzanine, with Indigo and Algae Blue Stain, May 2023, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Bloc C, Mezzanine, with Indigo and Algae Blue Stain, May 2023, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Sarragan limestone quarry | image © Joana Luz
Sarragan limestone quarry | image © Joana Luz
Bloc B, Agora, with rammed rarth walls + reclaimed roof tile terrazzo floor, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Bloc B, Agora, with rammed rarth walls + reclaimed roof tile terrazzo floor, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
final rendering of Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
final rendering of Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
stairs, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image @ Adrian Deweerdt
stairs, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image @ Adrian Deweerdt
final rendering of Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
final rendering of Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
the resource center, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
the resource center, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
floor at Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
floor at Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
rammed earth wall prototype | image © Baptiste Chatenet
rammed earth wall prototype | image © Baptiste Chatenet
mezzanine, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
mezzanine, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
stairs, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
stairs, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Atelier LUMA garden, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
Atelier LUMA garden, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
Bloc C storage, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Bloc C storage, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
1:10 models exhibited in Bloc B, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
1:10 models exhibited in Bloc B, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Waste stone sink prototype | image © Maria Lisogorskaya
Waste stone sink prototype | image © Maria Lisogorskaya
final rendering of Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joana Luz
final rendering of Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joana Luz
Mezzanine, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Mezzanine, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Bloc A curtain installation, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Bloc A curtain installation, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Joseph Halligan
Door, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Maria Lisogorskaya
Door, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Maria Lisogorskaya
LUMA Arles | image © Adrian Deweerdt
LUMA Arles | image © Adrian Deweerdt
Atelier LUMA garden, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
Atelier LUMA garden, LUMA Arles, France | image © Adrian Deweerdt
Bloc C exhibition, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Maria Lisogorskaya
Bloc C exhibition, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Maria Lisogorskaya
construction progress of timber frame with rice bale insulation + timber mezzanine structure in November 2021, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Jean-Yves Demuyter
construction progress of timber frame with rice bale insulation + timber mezzanine structure in November 2021, Le Magasin Électrique, LUMA Arles, France | image © Jean-Yves Demuyter

project info:

 

name: Le Magasin Électrique 

location: Parc des Ateliers, Arles, France

renovation architecture: Atelier LUMA | @atelier_luma

collaborators: Assemble Studio | @assembleofficial, BC architects & studies | @bcarchitectsandstudies

inauguration date: May 27, 2023 

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