, Canne de Camargue

Design with the seasons

Designer Antoine Boudin has been working within the context of Provence for more than ten years, mainly researching the potential of the local canne. We caught up with him to understand better the project he is developing in the context of Atelier Luma. 

— What is your ideal outcome for this project?

 We are certain that the canne de Provence has interesting qualities to make paper, but to set such a process in motion at an industrial scale is complex. The ideal outcome would be to provide all paper needed for Luma Arles, from the 80 gr/m2 paper in the printer tray to the exhibition catalog, to the packaging paper… If this would work, it would then be interesting to develop it further at a regional scale. And finally, there are also hints that point to the making of textiles; this is also a research track we would like to explore.

— What motivates your work? Do you have experience with the typical paper industry? 

My research is motivated by the pursuit of innovation integrated with the territory. This is something I have pursued in my design research for almost ten years, and I am convinced Provence is perfectly suited to this kind of design model. Regarding the paper industry, the only experience I have is a few laboratory tests. I grew up with the smell of cellulose next to the Rhône, carried by the wind that announced the rain. We must now discover what canne cellulose will smell like!

— Who are some of your collaborators for this project? Is there anyone you hope to start working with?

We are working with the CTP (Technical Centre of Paper). I would also like to start a conversation with Antoine Rouilly of ENSIACET in Toulouse, as I am convinced we will discover things together. I would also be curious to engage in exchange with agricultural, territorial and political partners, in order to measure their motivation, and if necessary persuade them of the relevance of this project.

— What were your intentions in the way you chose to set up your exhibit and workspace in the atelier? 

The idea of the presentation is very simple: to show the process that needs to occur in order to obtain paper from canne in its natural state. It is just like the rhyzomatic system of the canne itself. Several “paths” are generated out of primary research, and this is why I also show research that materialised in agglomerates, with canne plywood and chipboard. These are like paper, only at a different scale, and so it's relevant to show it and talk about it. 

Is there anything else you want to share about the project? 

What I find interesting about this project is that is is part of a precise reading of a territory that invites you to reconsider the aspect of time. This is a project that works with the seasons, in the agricultural, botanical and meteorological sense — a rare thing in design projects. Alongside the other Atelier Luma projects and designers, we propose an alternative to what the market and interest groups propose. The Atelier Luma projects all take into account our shared resources and try to work in a more responsible way. This is encouraging and invites optimism! There are things to make and remake with canne — this is certain, and we must not let it go!