Biennale du design de Saint-Etienne: the contemporary influence of traditional micro-architecture to be discovered on the site of Le Corbusier de Firminy

The Saint-Etienne Contemporary Art Biennial welcomes Jonathan Omar & Lionel Dinis-Salazar. The two designers from the Döppel studio present their vision of the architect’s shed and ask us about our use of natural resources.

The field of possibilities, micro-architectures to experiment with settles down in the lower parts of the church of Saint-Pierre du Le Corbusier site in Firminy. Until January 2023 as part of the Saint-Etienne International Design Biennial. The famous Le Corbusier cabanon, revisited, and 5 micro-architectures in a cereal universe. Döppel Studio invite you to discover an architectural movement responding to current societal challenges: the environment, inclusion and living together.

Wooden, bright yellow installations in the middle of a cemented showroom. The contrast is glaring. This choice was no accident. “Yellow was the color used by Le Corbusier” explains the designer, Jonathan Omar alongside his teammate Lionel Diniz Salazar. Five to six months of work for a final result mixing heritage, agriculture and human activity.

Don’t panic, you won’t need a microscope to admire the exhibition! The principle of this type of architecture is to create “rooms that highlight an action and a need” testifies Jonathan. “The challenge here was to respect the spatial constraints of the rooms” he continues. Visitors are completely immersed in the installations. He goes around the space, can walk, lie down, sit down and even play sports. “We didn’t want to distance the public, but that they could get into our heads from a conceptual point of view” says Jonathan.

First stop: “The shed revisited”. The two young designers of the studio Doppel are inspired by the famous artist Le Corbusier. More precisely of one of his creations. “We imagined it as Le Corbusier’s cabanon, as a seasonal habitat to cut itself off from urban density” Jonathan announces. Five other micro-architectures follow. All thoughts and designed around cereal farming practices. The common thread recalling this universe: the agricultural tarpaulin covering the installations. “We imagined the context of the project in the middle of the fields, so we take advantage of what is there, the agricultural tarpaulin” says the designer. A yellow, straw-padded blanket. “The tarp represents a kind of coat, to have an inhabited and dressed structure” explains Lionel. Deposited in each room, straw bales accompany the visitor.

Each stage of the exhibition represents a gathering place. “Water points or even campfires were places where people met and exchanged, so we really wanted to represent that” ends Lionel.

Pollution, energy needs and climate challenges impact our lifestyles. “The source”, 3rd micro-architecture, highlights the problem of water shortages. “The idea was to take up an existing principle for harvesting water in a natural way” says Lionel. Environmental concern is at the center of the exhibition. “Today, the question arises, with the climatic context, how much water should we use to wash ourselves?” asks the designer. By always using the codes of agricultural objects“Pesticide sprayers have been hijacked to use them as objects for rinsing with as little water as possible” he continues.

Heat, feed and access water. A habitat must meet its needs. Each micro-architecture isolates one. A spiritual aspect is added to the thinking of the designers. Facilities centered on sports practice and meditation complete these physiological needs. The goal: to soothe the body and mind through a liberating activity.

The exhibition has many other surprises in store for you. The field of possibilities, micro-architectures to experiment with is equally enjoyable for adults and children alike. Something to raise societal issues while having an interactive and fun time.

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Biennale du design de Saint-Etienne: the contemporary influence of traditional micro-architecture to be discovered on the site of Le Corbusier de Firminy

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