Marabout House, temporary accommodation from 1958, exhibited in Spain

Maison Marabout: temporary housing from the 1950s brings life back to life

La Maison du Marabout, a temporary dwelling structure from 1958, has been redesigned by Clément Cividino and is on display in Spain all summer long

The design codes of the 1950s are celebrated in a new exhibition that brings a temporary housing structure from 1958, Marabout House, to life. Originally designed by Raymond Camus and built in the workshops of Jean Prouvé, the structure – located in the Terra Remota vineyard in Catalonia, Spain – has been completely renovated by prefabricated architecture specialist Clément Cividino.

First created in response to the need for lightweight living structures by the French military, the project was used as accommodation during the Algerian War. French energy company EDF-GDF has ordered two versions of the 13-sided, metal space for use as temporary housing in the Paris suburbs. One was destroyed, while the other is now on display in the vineyard all summer.

Maison Marabout: the ephemeral habitat of the 50s revisited

Inside, Cividino has brought together pieces from big names in design, including a dining table by Charlotte Perriand, chairs by René Martin, a lamp by Bruno Munari and Marco Zanuso’s “Triennale” sofa.

His work on the project was a natural step for him: “Camus was one of the first in France to work on prefabricated industrial housing,” he says. “What is amazing is that he has worked a lot in Russia and the United States. He also contributed to the construction of many new towns and worked with renowned architects such as Marcel Lods, Jean Dubuisson and Émile Aillaud on social housing projects. Camus was a true pioneer.

Cividino is fascinated by the link between Prouvé and the Maison du Marabout. “We have a plan signed by Prouvé and there is a photo, in the archives of the city of Nancy, of a prototype of the Maison du Marabout in his workshop, with many Prouvé houses in the background. At the time, there was no one better placed to build such a structure than Prouvé. Then what advice or modifications he offered to the initial design is anyone’s guess.

‘La Maison Marabout adheres to many of Jean Prouvé’s principles for lightweight housing structures. Prouvé himself was strongly inspired by it. He often promoted Maison Marabout in the courses he gave at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris and of course referenced it in the service stations he designed for Total in 1969, which also had 13 faces. §

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