Ecole Saint-Charles, Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Ecoletopie, Monaco, 2024

Saint-Charles school, Monaco

09.2023 - 02.2024

Learning in the 21st century ?

École Saint-Charles, Monaco, with

the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco
and the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco

The Nouveau Musée National de Monaco and the Principality of Monaco's Department of Education, Youth and Sport, with the support of the Prince Albert II Foundation, invite studio smarin to present a new pedagogical experience entitled "Ecoletopie".


Designed by studio smarin in 2022 for the "L'Art d'apprendre, une école des créateurs" exhibition at the Centre Pompidou Metz, the system is now being deployed for the first time in a school in Monaco.

Ecoletopie will take up residence in a classroom at Saint-Charles school until the winter vacations. During this period, CM1 pupils and their teacher will be experimenting a total environment, the main objectives of which are :

  • attention mobilization
  • collective intelligence
  • exercise of sensibility
  • body consciousness

The system installed in the classroom is accompanied by a series of conversations and practical workshops led by smarin with the children, addressing notions such as the body biomechanics, collective coordination to build shared space, materials and their ecological footprint, and the practice of playing as a free experimentation of sensibility.

The object make the world

geometric life : a construction system
To set this collective space in motion, it is necessary to coordinate as a group

The classroom is set up using a system of building blocks made from pure materials: cork blocks, oak planks, beech dowels, without nails or screws. It's an utopian vision of the ideal piece of furniture: a malleable construction set, on hand, light, transformable according to moments. Children will be able to play, inventing constructions for classroom.

For example, a phalanstery of negotiations, a girls's fort, aeronef desks....
Then they'll decide on a layout for the lesson: U-shaped, bus-shaped, in lines...
First stage: discussion / decision-making
Second step: action / draw the plan, act, build,
Who decides? Who carries? Who tidies up ?

We'll test the group's ability to coordinate to set the space in motion and produce a situation that satisfies everyone. Beyond that, perceive complexity: awaken a better understanding of how the world is constructed, through the objects we use.

Materials: the history, properties, qualities and impact of materials. It's a question of wanting to know, of evaluating, before deciding, before accepting.
Using - being used.

deconstruct and build freely
self-construct a layout based on the needs defined by the class:
who makes the decision? who tidies up? who decides the plan?
The object as a medium for social experimentation:
The object makes the world

The object participates in the production of the surrounding environment
the materials enter into a choreography: from the forest to the cleat, from the field to the reel
People also follow: work, businesses, money
The object makes the world

Therapeutic and mecanical

la sChaise : the bouncing seat
Transformation through praxis

Sedentary lifestyles create hyper-prolonged sitting situations that prove toxic over the long term.
studio smarin re-examines two fundamental actions whose exercise is regenerative.

Somatic awareness

Feeling what is happening in your body.
Repeated movements and habits have a major long-term impact.
Making sure you use the right gestures, listening to your body's language, helps you develop confidence in your ability to grow and flourish.

Sitting: sitting for too long has serious consequences for our general state of health. A sedentary lifestyle develops a particularly uncomfortable form of passivity. We have equipped the classroom with our chairs, which are elastic, bouncy and have 4 stable legs.
Posture in the classroom is a huge part of language in the group. As a class, we have a shared vocabulary, and we hope to transform as much as possible the energy of agitation into moments of collective emulation.

Breathing: a simple technique and a powerful tool for managing anger and pain, and developing the ability to concentrate and regenerate.


the game : sensitive and free experimentation
Autotelic activity

A few minutes a day will be devoted to practicing, using pieces of unique materials, shapes and colors.
It will be a question of developing a game, an aesthetic practice, inventing one's own rules, developing one's sensitivity.
An alternative to the all-digital world, this time is supposed to enable a mental state of great interest in terms of health benefits: sometimes referred to as "Flow" by neuroscientists.
It releases mental and cellular order, and maintains and develops vitality.

The game consists of cards and a thousand pieces of unique materials, shapes and colours. It is practiced in silence, to assemble freely and incites a time of concentration. It allows one to deepen notions of measure, density, fragility, scale, balance, and signs. Aesthetic interactions make it possible to explore other methods of transmitting information that goes beyond the use of verbal language. Instruction cards for those uninspired days, with inspiring definitions: time, beauty, nuance, success, relationship, cosmology...

Neguentropy: activate yourself to fight entropy, the inexorable tendency of all living things towards transformation through chaos.

Autotelicity: Complete immersion in an activity with no other objective. The process is the reward.

the Podcast Les Formes de l'Art by NMNM to go further

écoletopie will continue in 2024 at la Station, 109, Pôle de cultures contemporaines, in NICE
february 24, 2024 - may 11, 2025

Associated collections