Towards the Day

Towards the Day
Niveau Zero Atelier
This project engage with the FR nuclear waste storage facilities, at a material & theoretical level. What's it's metaphysical & political meaning?

Niveau Zero Atelier
La Courneuve, France
Team members
Simon Chaouat
Thomas Viers
Mathias Vincent-Palazzi
Field of work
Architecture, Design, Ecology, Visual Art, Research
Project category
Project submitted

Niveau Zero Atelier is a research and production studio operating from La Courneuve, FR. We are active in the field of design, spatial research and architecture. The studio is composed of practitioners with different backgrounds from architecture through design or theory.

We develop interdisciplinary works focused on specific territories, facts, or situations. Looking at how these intertwine social, ecological, technological, and economical urgencies, we suggest solutions, propose alternatives, speculate on other modes of doing. Often embracing technic as a vector for reappropriation of the world, we produce multi-scale works derived from site-specific analyses.

We are conducting a few research project on the long run, that tends to defines our aesthetic and balance with a command-based activity.

The first one proposes tools to make local use of clay that is excavated in the suburbs of paris locally, thus activating short scale economy, local production and tools to reappropriate free time.
The second one suggest new rituals that could arise from the so-called water crisis, by implementing a general use of rainwater, trying to imagine how spirituality could support a careful management of the ressource.
The last one, with which we are applying to LINA fellowship, is interested in using the clay in which nuclear waste will be burried in France, to make artefacts.

Recently, we realised two architectural projects, always working with simple materials, starting our reflection from given context and technics, and trying to achiev cost, time and energy efficiency.

This project arised at the intersection of two research conducted by Niveau Zero Atelier.

The first one, initiated as master thesis conducted at Sandberg Instituut in 2021, analyse storage technics as tools to invisibilize the threat that material wealth accumulation is producing.

The second one is a research conducted in the suburbs of Paris, that focus on the potential for excavated clay to be re-used locally.

Both works meets in a recent project about the clay stratas that have been chosen to welcome French long-term nuclear storage facilities, in eastern France. This facilities are named CIGEO.
Funded by Artagon foundation, and since June, supported by the ANDRA (National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management), this project put together technical research, artefacts making and conceptual proposals.

One aspect of the project is to produce artefacts made out of local clay that replicates the stainless steel drums in which Long-Life Nuclear wastes are burried. This part of the project is seen as the first step towards a more complex and rich system of ceramic objects made with the clay extracted in CIGEO, putting symbols & affect on a topic that is presented as purely scientific although it's deeply ideological, not to say religious.

The second aspect of this project is rather theoretical : it seeks to research & publish on the various technics that are used to store & contain the nuclear matter, and look at them as tool for bio-political power : if toxicity produced by industrial activity threatens us, then we need to find narratives and tools to convince ourselves that we are protected.

Overall, this research wants to point out the ideological & technical framework that allows the industry to present itself as an autopoietic system, "presenting self-defined spatial & temporal limits" whereas environmental science has proven that no such thing exists. If toxicity exists, leaks does too & this would be too dangerous for our societies to admit.