Connecting ecosystems and communities of the wetlands around the Mediterranean Sea through design, research, and knowledge sharing.
Since its establishment in 2017 in the Camargue region, Atelier LUMA has been initiating relationships with partners in other wetland areas around the Mediterranean Sea. These ecosystems all face similar challenges, including erosion, biodiversity loss, waste management, and economic drain. They are also home to diverse wildlife and rural communities with rich cultural heritage.
The Mediterranean Design Platform (MDP) builds on Atelier LUMA’s approach: it leverages existing cultural and natural resources through design, using transdisciplinary and collaborative working structures. Each iteration of the MDP is developed locally, in a specific context. It serves as an example that can be adapted in other locations, to spread throughout the greater Mediterranean basin. The MDP is currently active in Sardinia (Italy), Turkey, and Egypt, at different stages of development.
Using design as a tool, the MDP network connects these European, African, and Middle Eastern realities in a community-based and maker-driven way. The local community plays a central role in each project, allowing it to actively shape the ongoing social, economic, and environmental transitions in its area. This also means that each project is rooted in, and can help strengthen, the local cultural heritage. All projects are designed to benefit both the local rural communities and their Mediterranean wetland ecosystems.
The MDP is structured around three types of programs: Traveling Schools, Situated Fellows, and Pilot Projects. Traveling Schools involve group learning programs and creative on-site immersions, organized by the MDP’s team and local partners. They bring together designers, experts, and locals to learn about the complexities of ecological, social, cultural, and technological issues in Mediterranean locations. Through investigating the bioregion, meeting local rural communities, and observing cultural identities, participants are able to better identify socio-economic and environmental needs.
The MDP also creates synergies between partners with the help of Situated Fellows, design practitioners who activate local networks. They contribute to fostering community, and to increasing visibility, communication, and connections.
The Pilot Projects are developed and implemented with local communities and stakeholders who share the MDP’s vision and goals. These projects can take many forms: for example, researching the use of algae for water purification, designing a series of domestic objects woven from endemic rushes, developing innovative biomaterials from agricultural coproducts, or creating objects related to water culture that combine technology and traditional crafts.
The MDP is continuously generating knowledge and networks that feed into Atelier LUMA’s Knowledge Platform. Each project developed locally within the MDP includes time reserved for sharing acquired knowledge, and public events such as lectures, exhibitions, publications, workshops, and residencies
Bilgi University Department of Industrial Design
Sheikh Zayed, Egypte
Le Caire, Egypte
Istanbul Microalgae Biotechnology Research and Development Center
ROCPOP Life Consortium
Weavers from San Vero Milis
San Vero Milis, Italie
Material Experience Lab
Delft, The Netherlands
Politecnico di Milano
Museum of Architecture and Design