Photographes :Monique Bastos et Gwendal Hervé
We’re in a land where minerals are everywhere. Houses have thick walls to protect from the
winds blowing from the west however they are also an obstacle when sun warmth arrives.
Nevertheless the artist wished to create a place that could be luminous, cosy and opened to the
surrounding landscape. He wanted a place dedicated to his interests, art, drawing and engraving.
To find the way to meet his expectations, he asked architects Gwendal Hervé and Monique Bastos
to conceive an artist studio inside an old barn from the XVIIth century, attached to the building
where he lives with his family. According to their own experience and observations on the local
architectural context, the architects proposed a double-faced project : it was turned into the inside as
the houses of the region, but they also wanted to create a place where heat and emotions would
bright to the outside.
On the outside, they preferred to conserve local architectural identity. In order to keep the dialogue
settled for centuries with buildings around, walls in stones of schist were conserved. The new glass
window was opened by local craftsmen. Windows and door frames were painted in anthracite
colour and were hidden in the thickness of the heavy stones walls.
In contrast to the rough, dark stone of the facades, the inside is smooth and completely painted in
white. It has been conceived as a real refuge for brightness. The glass window was opened towards
the west, creating a new view to the garden and allows soft light to get in from afternoon until
In order to adapt it to new uses, the barn was totally cleared from what remained from its previous
functions. To refurbish the inside part a concrete floor had to be made. It was completed by the
sealing of air gaps and the insulation of the walls by throwing lime and finally new water and
electricity networks. After the timber frames being strengthened, a coat of insulating material has
been set. It really allows to create a shell inside of the building.
To meet the needs and the the artists’ centers of interest, the architects imagined an interior design
that would take back the themes and the vocabulary of traditional furniture or way of life. If the
pieces of furniture are mainly underlined by carvings, they may also be simple and show out the
massive aspect of the raw wood. The architects followed these rules to design work boards and
bookshelves. Birch plywood selected for their light and warm colours, was splendidly created by a
More than a simple artist studio, this small building is now a place of meetings and a passageway.
It’s also a place of curiosity for the inhabitants of the surroundings in search of inspiration for their
own houses. Doesn’t it prove that the key to a project’s success often lies on local and cultural
context ? So, this small building, which entirely satisfies the artist, is now ready for the new chapter
of its story…