Atelier LUMA is an organization founded in 2016 with a mission to address environmental, economic, and social challenges using a multidisciplinary design approach. The team at Atelier LUMA consists of designers, engineers, scientists, and experts from various fields such as culture, craftsmanship, humanities, social sciences, and innovation. They focus on exploring the potential of local materials that are often overlooked or considered non-valuable, such as invasive plants, agricultural byproducts, algae, and industrial waste.
Since 2023, Atelier LUMA has been housed in Le Magasin Électrique, where it operates as a collaborative platform. They work closely with local actors and partners, including farmers, craftspeople, and manufacturers, to create sustainable and local solutions. Over the years, Atelier LUMA has expanded its research scope beyond the Arles bioregion and has participated in European projects while supporting other institutions in their research endeavors.
The goal of Atelier LUMA is to develop local solutions that can be replicated in other regions, contributing to ecological, economic, technological, and social transitions. Some of their implemented projects can be seen in the Parc des Ateliers. For example, in The Tower, they developed wall cladding panels made of naturally crystallized salt from salt flats. The sanitary facilities feature bioplastic tiles infused with algae-based dyes and invasive and dye plants, showcasing their research into local production of bio-sourced and biodegradable plastics. Additionally, the walls of the Drum Café are coated with a material derived from sunflower pith, a residual raw material from the sunflower oil industry.
In terms of Le Réfectoire furnishings, Atelier LUMA collaborated with designer Martino Gamper, his studio, and local craftspeople and manufacturers. Together, they developed a complete range of furniture and equipment, including chairs, wall plaster, lamps, and bench upholstery. These items incorporate years of research on materials like rice straw, Arles merino wool, and invasive and dye plants.
In 2023, Atelier LUMA is set to complete the renovation of Le Magasin Électrique, their central building for activities. This renovation project, conducted in collaboration with BC architects & studies and Assemble, also served as an opportunity to implement the Lot 8 project. Lot 8 focuses on large-scale applied research for bioregional architecture, emphasizing the use of local resources and the sustainability of equipment.
Apart from their research and design work, Atelier LUMA also engages in educational programs, exhibitions, and public lectures. These efforts aim to share and disseminate the knowledge they have gathered and produced in Arles and internationally.