Category Archives: News

Riez / Assemble Studio

Riez is a village that comes alive mostly during the summer period and lacks a cultural life during the other ten months of the year. The patrons wish to create a space that provides a cultural life of quality for rural areas throughout the year.  

The Big Top is an artwork linked to Riez’s historical Roman heritage and is a place that will be used to host artistic and cultural events: theatre, dance, cinema, music, conferences and meals.

Its annual operating will be linked with the Cercle des Oiseaux activity in partnership with Le Moulin à Projets, an association created in 2018 to create a living space inspired by the La Borde psychiatric establishment founded by Doctor Jean Oury. Le Moulin à Projets provides a home and structure for adults who no longer need psychiatric hospitalization, but who nevertheless need support in everyday life.

If The Big Top and the Food Truck (operating in July and August for the past two years) are the structural elements of the living space, The Big Top is also a social tool for Riez’s inhabitants and neighbouring municipalities. As such, it must be mobile and easy to dismantle at a reasonable rate.

Assemble Studio responded positively to the commission. Joe Halligan and James Binning are the two architects in charge of the commission.

presentation – pdf

Patrons: Claudine Aulino, Gaëlle Duplat, Geraldine Manivet, Mademoiselle K

crédits photographiques : DR

The Durance Gravity Irrigation Canals / Élise Florenty & Marcel Türkowsky

In the Durance valley, water management has been a factor in economic development, mainly in the agricultural domain, and developments linked to this activity have shaped the landscape considerably. This shared patrimonial asset is, however, unknown to the majority of the region’s inhabitants who consider it natural and acquired, forgetting in particular that these gravity irrigation canals contribute to the aquifers used for drinking water and, locally, for watering gardens.

The challenges of the commission:
Beyond communicating the existence of a patrimony and its impact on the present, members of the CED (Durance Executive Commission) and ASA (s) (Authorized Irrigators Trade Unions) wish to highlight the positive resonance of a truly united network of professionals acting with regard to the wider public good.

The purpose of the commission is to make the entire local population ­– particularly the younger generations – aware of the joint challenges of agricultural activity, drinking water and landscape heritage. The ecological richness of this region is created by the presence of water and functioning canals: These artificial structures are continually maintained and perfected to minimize risks. In a period of climatic change, collective water management sets an example in terms of impact, whether in rural or urban areas.

Commissioners: ASA(s), Manosque and Carpentras are the active monitors of the commission with other ASA(s) volunteers, accompanied by Jerome Grangier, former president of the CED and farmer in the Bouches du Rhône, Denix Baudequin and Patrice Devos, General Engineers for bridges, waters and forests.

Montjustin / Concorde

15 kilometres from Manosque in the Luberon, the village of Montjustin has a unique history. Lucien Jacques, a friend of Jean Giono, rediscovered the village in the aftermath of the Second World War. Montjustin was revived through the poet, who settled there, drawing artists and friends in his wake.

Today, two thirds of the 52 residences are permanent. Monjustin’s story continues to be a story of friendships. Collective life exists ­– in 2013, a communal café association was created in the old school with the prospect of a cultural programme – a brewery opened and three farms are still in operation.

In 1989, the alienation of spaces considered public was badly received. In 2014, the municipality pre-empted a piece of land in the heart of the central block which adjoins the town hall to build affordable housing and recover space situated at the top of the village, near the old church that is now a location for cultural events.

With this purchase, the municipality wishes to:

– Reflect on the realization of low and medium income housing, modular housing units, and establish mutual use of a boiler room that exists on the block.

– Revitalize the space formed by the former presbytery (property of the municipality) that is currently rented out, a private dwelling, and the church. For the patrons, the approach must be exemplary: action to safeguard the spirit of the village and its collective and friendly tradition in an environment – Le Luberon – where demand for land is high.


Patrons: Montjustin Municipality and residents’ group.

In progress:


Élisabeth Ballet, Pilat Regional Nature Park

Situated in the Pilat Regional Nature Park near Saint-Etienne, the town of Bourg-Argental has retained the imprint of a textile activity developed there since the 16th century. Everything needed for textile production was in evidence – milling, warping, weaving, braiding, ribbon making; buildings linked to the industry made a strong mark on the landscape.

The project, initiated by the town of Bourg-Argental, is part of the Industrial Landscape programme unfolding in the four regional nature parks of Pilat, Monts-d’Ardèche, Lorraine and Vercors. Residents and elected officials wished to highlight the industrial past and make the conscious and unconscious traces of the textile industry legible. It is a question of addressing spaces created by the destruction of certain buildings in line with architecture still in existence.

Élisabeth Ballet initially conducted a meticulous investigation to collect data on weaving and ribbon making, but also to reread, spatially, Bourg-Argental’s industrial history. The places she identified could not be used (either inaccessible or decreed flooded, by the state), so in 2013, the commune invited her to invest in a central space that was the former site of the Jarrosson textile factory.

Élisabeth Ballet’s work takes shape in this space and goes beyond, including a trail that retraces the town’s textile activity, as well as a book.

  1. Jarrosson Square: finding a purpose.

The first thing to do is to clear the original factory space by removing everything that obstructs the square, and reveal the original gate and surrounding wall at the bottom of the garden. “Then the square will turn into a pedestrian agora, the garden part raised like a stage, opens onto the town and is visible to everyone.”

On the ground, granite paving will depict weaving in motion across its entire length, then continue past the route nationale, to suggest that weaving gave work to the whole town with some fifty factories and studios dedicated to textile.

  1. The trail through the town.

With the help of Mr. Michel Linossier, former weaving combs manufacturer, Élisabeth Ballet located a large section of the missing workshops street by street, and drew a map to guide the visitor on his/ her journey through the town. An enamelled sign serves as a landmark at each site.

  1. The Book

Because a physical artwork cannot reveal the work of research, Élisabeth Ballet wanted to produce a book to restore the profile of weaving spaces. “It will be divided into one part for drawing, another for the archives and interviews.  I have collected instruction books, sample books and more technical archives on the practice of weaving….My objective is to show, through the progressions of words, a changing profession, through images, which is emblematic of places and practices in a factory that was witness.”

Patrons: The commune of Bourg-Argental, represented by mayor Stéphane Heyraud and deputy mayors.

Funding: Pilat Regional Nature Park, within the European LEADER programme (European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development), Fondation de France /New Patrons, the town of Bourg-Argental

In Progress