Atelier LUMA

Atelier LUMA is a design and research laboratory, a production workshop, and a network of multidisciplinary experts. Launched in 2016, it explores the territory’s innovation potential through its resources and know-how. Since 2017, it has been based in the Parc des Ateliers inside the Mécanique Générale building, and will soon move to a new, larger laboratory inside the Magasin Électrique building.

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Atelier LUMA develops local solutions that can be replicated in other territories for a virtuous ecological, economic, technological, and social transition.

Through its research on the bioregion and the city of Arles, Atelier LUMA creates innovative ways to use the natural and cultural resources of a territory. Atelier LUMA’s working methods are rooted in post-industrial design practices. From the reuse of agricultural wastes and valorization of traditional crafts to the sharing of knowledge, each of its projects is a component of a more virtuous system. 

The Atelier LUMA team comprises about 20 people who collaborate with a network of participants from diverse background. Designers, artists, biologists, engineers, farmers, philosophers, sociologists, and activists mingle and work together.

As soon as it moved to the Parc des Ateliers, Atelier LUMA began prototyping the solutions resulting from its research.

Located first in La Mécanique Générale building, Atelier LUMA acquired furniture and a mezzanine from the III+1 project, a modular construction system designed as a toolbox. This system made it possible to define different work and exhibition environments, as well as to compose different furniture pieces with a wide range of materials.

During the summer of 2020, Atelier LUMA and Martino Gamper’s London studio collaborated with local stakeholders, with whom they had been meeting since 2016, to renovate the Réfectoire building. From coating and furniture to flooring and wallcoverings, each element was designed with materials developed from agricultural resources and wastes found within a 12-mile radius of the Parc des Ateliers.

La salle de restaurant du Réfectoire

Le Réfectoire - Salle de restauration

Adrian Deweerdt

The Tower is the first large-scale experimentation site for several innovative materials developed by Atelier LUMA

Atelier LUMA’s research has resulted in salt walls and salt and concrete ceilings, which are now used in The Tower. These materials, developed in collaboration with the salt workers of the Salins du Midi, were based on an exploration of the properties of salt in the context of a public building in the Camargue, and the potential benefits of new uses of salt on the local economy. 

The tile-shaped wallcoverings inside The Tower were made from algae biopolymers, which have been in development at Atelier LUMA since 2016. This material is one of the results of a global research on different species of algae and their properties.

Unique upholstery fabrics have been developed through Atelier LUMA’s research on Arles merino wool, invasive species, and pigments from local dye plants and algae. Atelier LUMA and its collaborators have also placed their expertise in textiles and the recycling of agricultural wastes at the service of artist Rirkrit Tiravanija, who has created acoustic panels in sunflower pith and hung a monumental tapestry in the café.

Finally, most of the furniture in The Tower is the result of a collaboration between Atelier LUMA, local farmers, and publisher Artek, who have applied research conducted since 2017 on rice straw and invasive species to the manufacture of objects.

In the winter of 2021, Atelier LUMA will expand its activities inside Le Magasin Électrique, another building in the Parc des Ateliers.

Maquette du Magasin Électrique à l'intérieur du chantier

Maquette du Magasin Électrique à l'intérieur du chantier

Adrian Deweerdt

Since 2020, Atelier LUMA has been working in collaboration with BC Architects and Assemble Studio, two architectural studios that have put the reuse of building materials and collaboration at the center of their research process. Together, they are leading the Lot 8 project, which consists of the renovation of Le Magasin Électrique building into a functional and modular space that can adapt to future needs.

Working mainly with local resources, agricultural and construction wastes, Atelier LUMA imagines implementation scenarios for its research on rice straw, sunflower, stone, and clay.

Atelier LUMA continues its experiments in the territory and beyond. 


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Wall of Salt by Atelier LUMA

Discover more articles on the Atelier LUMA website

A week in TEDAC's workshops - Woodworking from Japanese knotweed

TEDAC Tremplin pour l'Emploi, le Développement et l'Avenir en Cévennes) is an association located in the Cevennes at La Grand-Combe. This association runs a Chantier d'Insertion (work integration program) which has two main activities: the maintenance of natural areas through campaigns to uproot Japanese knotweed (an invasive plant which proliferates on the banks of local rivers) and the production of small wooden objects in a carpentry workshop.

Training course & Discovery days - Raw earth construction

From May 25 to 28, 2021 Atelier LUMA in collaboration with BC Materials organized a series of workshops around raw earth building materials and techniques. The workshops took place in the Parc des Ateliers, in the framework of the rehabilitation of the building Magasin Électrique.

The first course Building with Raw Earth and the discovery days allowed participants to learn about and experiment with raw earth, to obtain building materials adapted to the economic and ecological challenges of our time.

Algae Summit - A day of lectures and panel discussions on algae.

On December 9th, Atelier LUMA hosted its first international Algae Summit from Arles, South of France. The Algae Summit, organized by the Algae Platform, marks the achievement of 4 years of research in the field of algae and opens up new fields of research for the future.

Tutti Frutti by Martino Gamper



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