‘sardine sardine’ revives 1970s summer, camping in the south of france

design influenced by technical camping equipment


An installation dubbed Sardine Sardine takes shape in the city of Toulon along southern France’s Mediterranean coast. The work marks a collaborative effort led by designer Madeleine Oltra and architect Angelo de Taisne, and pays tribute to the summer atmosphere of the 1970s in the South of France — especially the technical camping equipment of the time.


The duo notes the deeply personal significance of camping which had allowed them both to travel independently since their teenage years. While camping has an inherent set of constraints — including transport and lightness — it instills a deeper connection with the place and landscape over traditional travel.

sardine sardine toulonimage © Alice Mesguich | @alicemesguich



sardine sardine: inside the tent


It is transport and lightness which have informed the design of the Sardine Sardine installation in Toulon and the collection of objects inside. 


Designer Madeleine Oltra and architect Angelo de Taisne have absorbed the spirit of the camping in the South of France by pouring through 1970s-era magazines. The retro, summery aesthetic was harnessed and integrated with the lightweight and compact material culture of the contemporary bivouac, a temporary camp used by mountain climbers. The duo further references the stories of Jo and Roger Tourte in À pied autour du monde: trois ans de camping.


The designers comment: ‘Sardine Sardine tells the story of two campers who have amassed in this large, warm tent, all sorts of objects that have lived through several trips before them, and others that they have imagined for their pleasure and comfort.’

sardine sardine toulon
image © Alice Mesguich



tent pegs, buckles, and sleeping bags


The collection displayed in Toulon as part of the Sardine Sardine installation is a series of furniture and design objects which hybridize camping culture and luxury craft. Atop a cot in the corner of the tent is a pleated silk duvet, its shiny, crinkled material echoing that of the familiar sleeping bag. To create this cover, Madeleine Oltra and Angelo de Taisne collaborated with Lisa Favreau and Lisa Guedel-Dolle, the creators of Azur. The silk was dyed with St. John’s wort, in their Marseille studio.


The installation takes its name from the term sardines de tente, meaning tent pegs. In an homage to this title, two small tent pegs can be found hanging above the bed. It is with this attention to detail that the project shines. More details include an aluminum buckle-amulet, crafted in collaboration with sculptor Olga Flór. These ornaments are further tribute to the technical elements of camping. Sardine Sardine has been announced Grand Prize winner of Design Parade Toulon (see here), and is on view until October 30th, 2022.

sardine sardine toulon
image © Mickael Llorca




Angelo de Taisne describes some of the design objects found in the installation (see them in the gallery below!): ‘A ‘coiffeuse’ is composed of an aluminum tripod mounted by two mirrors. The central one is made of polished stainless steel (doesn’t break like glass, only good luck for 7 years). Its smaller sibling is an extensible caravan rear-view mirror.

‘Attached to the tripod’s plate, two hooks allow us to hang a ‘vache à eau’ a soft portable water container equipped with a small 1940’s aluminum tap. We made this water vessel from a second hand reflective fabric.’

sardine sardine toulon
image © Mickael Llorca sardine sardine toulon
image © Mickael Llorca

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