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Nautile Sylvestre - Welcome Pavilion

September 2019


Commissioned for the 85th edition of the Libramont Fair in Belgium, the “Nautile Sylvestre” was conceived by ArtBuild Architects and Saïse Design as a totem for both forestry and timber trades, featuring the first structural use of cold-bent CLT panels.

Mass timber and CLT in particular, is set to conquer a significant market share. With this growth, issues of recyclability of buildings - and notably office buildings which have high redundancy rate - come to the fore and need to bas addressed by design teams and other stakeholders.

Inspired by the emergence of new digital tools capable of exploring parametric calculations which enable new transformative processes, the exploration of one particular technique, lattice hinge curving, seemed to offer significant potential in developing large-scale re-use of CLT panels. With the first applications tested on simple plywood panels (see Opalia) the team moved on to test the cold-bending of 6cm CLT. The first real-scale model was presented at the Woodrise congress in 2017.

Assembled by carpentry students, the pavilion is designed to function as both a viewing gallery and and exhibition space. The extraordinary sensorial qualities of the curved wood call into the question the limits between structure and decoration, as the precision of digital tools.

Further questions are to be asked. How does this structural system, inspired by the material efficiency of the banana stem, compare to traditional post and beam, stud frame and panel assemblies? How tall can we reasonably build? Can we incorporate a double curvature in CLT panels in order to enhance structural performance? Benchmarking is ongoing, and theoretical models tested with a view to establishing the potential of this fascinating new approach to architecture.


Le « nautile sylvestre », époustouflant à Démo Forest à Bertrix. (La Meuse) Journaliste : Jean-Luc Bodeux (Province de Luxembourg le 31 juillet 2019). Source :

Le Nautile Sylvestre, le phare de Demo Forest (L’avenir) Journaliste : Sébastien Etienne (Bertrix le 31 juillet 2019) Source :

Le très beau « nautile sylvestre » illumine Demo Forest en fôret de Bertrix (Le Soir) Journaliste : Jean-Luc Bodeux (Province de Luxembourg le 31 juillet 2019). Source :

Foire de Libramont : le Nautile Sylvestre emblématique du Pôle Bois. (DH) Journaliste : Nadia Lallemant (publié le jeudi 25 juillet 2019), Source :

Bertrix : un pavillon en bois vitrine de Démo Forest (Tvlux) Publié le vendredi 28 juin 2019, Source :