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Floating tranquility in the south of France

Atelier Lavit have brought to life a new version of Spartan luxury with their floating timber Eco-hotel in Lac de la Lionne – a fishing reserve in Avignon, France. Ten suites have been designed and built in a new-age-primitive spirit, floating close to the shore of a tranquil lake. The suites rest on the water's surface like rafts, with different densities of vertical wooden screens bordering their perimeters, guaranteeing privacy and weather protection for inhabitants.

The architect's imperative for this project was to create absolute symbiosis between the suites and the existing landscape that encircles them. A tall order considering the challenges involved with building on a lake surrounded by vineyards in the south of France. But the project's client wanted an eco-lodge which would exalt the natural beauty of this reserve in Châteauneuf-du-Pape - and they got that... in spades.

The buoyant units are simple but sophisticated, glorifying their own bare essentials. They are each reduced to a vision of wooden pilotis peeking through the lake's reeds, mimicking the elegant upward momentum of their surroundings and then rationalising it into geometric, regular, repetitive form. The living spaces are hidden by a wooden filter – a punctuated screen – that edits out the harshness of the elements and keeps peeping Toms at bay.

During the day, the suites' interiors are dappled in a play of light and shadow, with rays of sunlight filtering through the timber screening projecting constantly moving motifs on the floor. Meanwhile, from afar, seemingly random gaps in the screening give way to abstract glimpses of vegetation, lake and sky.

After sunset the effect is reversed – the suites are immersed in darkness and illuminated only by the moon from the exterior. From inside outwards, the structures emit a gentle glow – taking on the appearance of lanterns afloat, radiating an internal golden light that seeps through the wooden slats.

The suites were mainly prefabricated in a timber workshop, off-site. Their components were numbered, dismantled and rebuilt on site in just three months. Prefabrication meant the project worked with reduced production costs and on-site building costs, and had a low impact on the surrounding landscape. The result? A haven characterised by austere elegance and a welcome return to nature.

All images by Marco Lavit Nicora, courtesy of Atelier Lavit


Architect: Atelier Lavit

Location: Lac de la Lionne, 84700 Sorgues (France) Atelier LAVIT

Pre-fabrication/ contractor: Nid Perche / créateur d’hébergements insolites

Client: Cabanes des Grands Cépages

Completed: 2017

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