Cécile Bart in Thiers

And rain, the sun

Located in the countryside in the locality of Chassignol near Thiers, Maison Arc-en-Ciel welcomes around fifty children from families in difficulty, all aged between 4 and 15 years old. The purpose of the institution is educational ­– to promote the well-being of children facing a difficult stage of life. Aware that the grey, walled-in façade of the institution conveys a negative image of confinement, the staff took collective action to restore the institution’s true social function.

The patrons discern that the surrounding wall ­– a transitional place between interior and exterior – should reveal the beauty inherent in their mission and not arouse rejection. Given the imbalance of the architectural structures, the entire complex must be harmonized to express a feeling of balance and peace. Maison Arc-en-Ciel must concretely rediscover the dimensions of colour and light ­– symbols of life reflected in its name.

The project’s various participants unanimously accept Cécile Bart’s proposal, and opt for changing the colour of the different buildings within the institution, choosing from a significant chromatic range. The blues and greens echo the natural park adjoining the institution; the red-browns create a structuring environment conducive to the hoped-for psychic reconstruction taking place within; the yellows bring their warmth and energizing potential. Each colour family comes in a gradient that runs along the buildings, not cutting them off from one another and strengthening the unity of all the constructions while taking into account their integration into the site.

Patrons: staff members of Arc-en-Ciel children’s home.

Funding: Fondation de France, Ministry of Culture and Communication for public procurement (DAP/ CNAP, DRAC Auvergne), Les Sœurs de la Charité de Nevers, Department of Puy-de-Dôme, Auvergne region, ADSEA, ADSEA works council, Proctor & Gamble France, Savings Bank of Auvergne and Limousin, Keim mineral paints.


book link

Following the creation of the work, rather than a catalogue, Cécile Bart wanted to design an artist’s book for children, those who first experience the work: And Rain the Sun! with contributions from Mona Thomas and Pierre Leguillon, édition art3.

Photographic credits: Audrey Marlhens, Catherine Savary