After several years spent in Latin America, the French architect and designer Arnaud Sarteur returned to France and has since devoted himself to the design of an innovative autonomous architecture: the CIEL Station Meeting with an inspired designer.

Following several experiences of building traditional wood-frame houses, Arnaud Sarteur became interested in the simplification, flexibility and architectural quality of a habitat at a lower cost. With its CIEL Station, an innovative, eco-responsible, modular and multifunctional turnkey habitat, it creates an easy-going living space that is adapted to our contemporary way of life.

Muuuz: How was the CIEL Station born?
Arnaud Sarteur: The idea was to wink at the space station, and to envision my project as "a land station". I have created modules that can connect and assemble to improve their function and use over time, and adapt to a more mobile contemporary lifestyle, closer to nature. I thought of a habitat accessible to all, a less expensive and quality construction that adapts to the evolution of everyone's life. The CIEL Station is also the result of a reflection on production methods. For this architecture, all the manufacturing steps are carried out in a single workshop in order to better manage the project management. The completed module is delivered to the field by truck. The dry materials chosen are part of a responsible approach: they reduce the production of waste and the consumption of water on the site. With the CIEL Station, I wanted to create a building on a human scale, a customizable and eco-designed cocoon.

Where does its name come from?
The choice of cladding with a “mirror effect” covering, which reflects the sky and the surrounding nature, makes the CIEL Station a “sculptural and mysterious futuristic house-object”. The CIEL Station therefore takes its name from the cladding, but also from the acronym CIEL: Construction Itinérante Extensible Légère.

Did your experience in South America inspire this project?
My experience in South America has changed my outlook on habitat. There, the great outdoors are available, the landscapes are immense and wild, movements and distances are not counted. This stay really made me want to live in natural spaces, with the concern not to degrade them and to leave them without impact. Some experiences of Wood Framing construction were my first approaches to this architecture. The CIEL Station prototype was therefore designed to be expandable and connectable to other modules. The wooden structure is assembled, and it is connected by metal beams. Each module is personalized and the interior layout is optional, according to the needs of each client.

Which artisans did you collaborate with on this project?
Today, the challenge for any architect is to integrate "doing", and not just "thinking". So I took part personally and actively in the project by experimenting, studying the materials and making a prototype, within the collaborative Fab lab Made In Marseille. I worked in collaboration and in partnership with the joiners-carpenters, ironworkers living in Ici Marseille and local artisans.

Why did you choose metal and wood as the main materials?
I liked to create a contrast between the futuristic metallic side of the cladding and the mirror-polished metal covering on the outside and the warm authenticity of the wood on the inside, leaving the framework exposed.

What do you think it means to inhabit space?
Human beings are marked by their successive habitats. “Inhabiting space” has an existential dimension.

How do you imagine the architecture of the future?
I want to participate in the construction of a habitable planet for all. Man and architecture will begin to fade a little in order to give back space to nature, and to rebalance the relationship between man and his environment. Nature will be able to reappear in its splendor, cleaner, more harmonious, more respected. The CIEL Station is part of this approach. It reflects the light and blends into the landscape to minimize the intrusion of the building into the landscape, like a camouflage.
The health crisis has also revealed the importance of architectural quality: the ceiling height, openings, light, thermal comfort contribute to “being at home” and in harmony with the surrounding nature. In my architecture of the future, construction materials will therefore be selected for their ecological qualities, their resistance, their insulating power, their environmental impact, local or short-circuit bio-based materials. Becoming eco-responsible architects is our mission. The house of tomorrow will be a simple and adaptive architecture, a comfortable and resilient shelter that can be easily transformed with a certain operational autonomy.

To learn more, visit CIEL Station Instagram account. The CIEL Station is exposed and open to visits by appointment at Parc Foresta in Marseille (13).

Visuals: DR


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