Mobile furniture made from old ships sails and plywood scraps appear throughout the École Camondo Méditerranée design school in Toulon along with interiors by French firm Emilieu Studio.
The southern outpost of École Camondo de Paris is located on the Côte d’Azur coast and features a clean, open-plan interior intended to reflect “how design and sustainability intersect”.
Its sparse 2,000 square meter floor plan is interrupted by a series of box-like storage units where students keep all their gear.
Each is made from offcuts of marine plywood that Emilieu Studio sourced from a nearby factory, selecting the material for its lightweight, strong, and water-resistant qualities.
Decorator artist Pierre-Yves Morel was hired to paint the surfaces of the units to resemble different types of marble and rock that are local to Toulon.
“We had two difficulties with the adornment: aesthetics could not cross functionality and we had to highlight the wonderful raw materials of Provence without extraction”, explains the studio. “Our only leeway was the surface, so we dared to rehabilitate the fake.”
Otherwise, the decor is kept to a minimum, with the exception of a few enlarged shots of Toulon which the workshop mounts on movable walls and partitions.
“They allow a better understanding of the territory and encourage collaborative projects by being completely annotable and magnetic”, explains Emilieu Studio.
Marine plywood has also been used to create several wheeled plinths which, with a few extensions, can be transformed into mobile carts, whiteboards or work tables.
The plinths also form the basis of the school’s modular sofas, which are finished with chunky cushions covered in old ship sails from the nearby port of Marseille. These can be removed and stacked to create seats in other pockets in the room.
The only fixed elements of the school’s interior are the stainless steel elements that make up the kitchen, as these had to be connected to the building’s plumbing system.
There’s also a color-coded bin station with built-in scales so students can manage their waste generation and organize it for use in future projects.
More traditional desks with glossy white counters were also scattered throughout the space.
The Ecole Camondo Méditerranée is one of the five projects shortlisted in the Civic and Cultural Interior category of the Dezeen Awards 2022.
Other projects in the running include the world’s first multi-storey skatepark in Folkestone and Crawshaw Architects’ Stanbridge Mill Library, which occupies a former barn.
The photograph is by Antoine Huot.