Utopix has continued to evolve since it was started 30 years ago. Over that time, one family turned an empty field in the French countryside into a sprawling domed house, statuary and overall, outsider-amusement park.
In the spring of 1979, a sculptor named Jo Pillet, and his wife Dominique began work on a home on their land in Lozere, France. With over 27 acres to their name, they hoped to create “vital architecture,” both aesthetically pleasing and functional, but also completely unique and representative of Jo and Dominique’s artistic sense.
Their first plan was to begin work on a residence. But work came slowly. Working as a painter during the winter to finance his activities during the summer, Jo Pillet started by stacking cinderblocks into domed igloo-like shapes. Adding in a skeletal structure of concrete and wood, Pillet then covered the igloos in stones to add a cave-like style to the DIY home. Progress slowed even more when the couple had their third child, forcing them to temporarily re-locate to a house near the property.
Finally in 1994, Pillet finished his home and his family was moved in permanently. By that time, word had spread about the fantastic complex and visitors began to stream to the property. Since that time, the Pillet family has added sculptures made of stones, a small man-made pond, a labyrinth and a mini-golf course. The family still lives on the site and maintains the creation throughout the year.