Atelier LUMA's method is built around 4 pillars: investigation, design, implementation and transmission.

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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.

This initial anchoring in a unique geographic and human context shaped our practices into bioregional ones, and led us to a methodology that we apply wherever we are working. Structured but not rigid, our approach is highly collaborative and mobilizes a wide variety of partners and stakeholders depending on the context.


The first phase in Atelier LUMA’s approach involves meticulous research, conducted through immersion into a given territory. The team’s goal is to understand the cultural and environmental ecosystems, in order to identify underused or undervalued resources. 

The initial investigation seeks to find resources in an open-ended and intuitive way. The team members conduct fieldwork informed by their diverse backgrounds, ranging from design and architecture to biology, chemistry, sociology, economics, engineering, and more. They comb through the surroundings, collecting data. Scientific experts and lab technicians at partner institutes help to orient the research. Extensive interviews with local craftspeople, associations, policymakers, manufacturers, farmers, and others provide the team with essential information, and also transmit important nuances of culture and daily life. 

As the investigation progresses, it yields detailed inventories and maps of the environmental, cultural, and industrial landscape. The research team provides a critical assessment of the situation and identifies starting points and potential contributors for locally-driven projects.


In this phase of its approach, Atelier LUMA’s designers and makers activate undervalued resources by experimenting with new forms. Through extensive testing and iteration, Atelier LUMA creates assemblages that reflect new models of production, uniquely suited to a territory’s specific environmental, social, and economic needs.

Atelier LUMA’s building is equipped with a range of tools and flexible spaces for working with unusual components in nontraditional ways. It also partners with research institutes and laboratories. Thorough documentation ensures that future projects can benefit from previous exercises in prototyping.

Using resources in novel ways often means building connections between groups that haven’t previously worked together, such as farmers and manufacturers or scientists and craftspeople. These new ties are themselves a source of value for the territory.

Aesthetically, results are infused with the territory’s culture and natural surroundings. But above all, the resulting material, process, or structure must respond to a clear opportunity or challenge on the ground, and function in real-world conditions.


When a project reaches the implementation phase of Atelier LUMA’s approach, it is confronted with the constraints and variability of real-world conditions. It becomes part of the bioregion’s literal and figurative landscape: the local resources are made visible, and given value. 

Atelier LUMA’s approach focuses on identifying the optimal scale for a given project’s effectiveness. This can vary widely depending on factors including sources of raw materials, production capacities, and economic models. The team works with local administrators and businesses to accompany the project through the rigorous certification processes that ensure safety and compliance with norms. 

In this phase, the network around the project solidifies. The contributors are true stakeholders, invested in and indispensable to the project’s success and longevity. Much as Atelier LUMA views a given territory’s historical know-how as a resource, it also seeks to anchor newly created know-how within the territory.


In this phase of its approach, Atelier LUMA gives shape to and shares the knowledge it produces. The question of what should be shared, with whom, and in what form is the topic of ongoing design research.

Because projects are interconnected and woven into the bioregion, it is crucial to attribute value not only to finished products, but also to the collaboration and experimentation that make them possible. This means finding ways to showcase the people and processes behind projects. Atelier LUMA places an emphasis on incorporating open source tools into its practices, and on applying the open source principles of transparency and participation.

Team members are continuously refining procedures for selecting and archiving knowledge and know-how, and testing communications tools for circulating it—for example, through publications, exhibitions, lectures, and workshops.

By connecting its body of knowledge to existing academic and institutional networks, Atelier LUMA aims to accelerate capacity for adaptation to rapidly changing conditions faced around the world.


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