Moselle, France

Neo’s Homestead at Parc Sainte Croix

Distant shot of Neos Homestead at Parc Sainte Croix with adventure play by CAP.CO Photography by Kev Foster

Neo's World within Parc Sainte Croix is a new destination for explorers, following Neo's trail around the park.

This new area gives structure to the entire “Le Voyage de Néo” area. It bring Neo’s “world” into existence and creates a destination that serves both as an introduction and conclusion to his great journey and fits within the loop his voyage takes you on.

It is located in an area open to all visitors and was therefore designed to be inclusive for all, and not reserved only for able-bodied children. It's been created to immerse you within a story that is creative and colourful, with a touch of craziness, where the recovery and recycling of gathered objects from around the world is critical to the design and the story that runs through it.

There is loads to play in, on and under, with tricks of the light and stunning 'stained glass' to add layer upon layer of detail. There's integrated water play that allows some of the really crazy detailing to come to life and keep things cool on a hot sunny day.

Background and Brief

Founded in 1980, Parc Sainte-Croix, in the east of France, has been protecting and championing the native European Fauna for over 40 years.

As the story goes, within the park lives a young boy from the countryside of the Moselle region called Neo, about to embark on a journey. He is a great adventurer, but also passionate about the local fauna. He travels to the very ends of the world, to meet and learn about the most endangered and protected species, returning to his homestead to share his experiences and raise children's awareness of protecting biodiversity, promoting sustainability and encouraging imagination.

The existing Voyage de Neo's area within the park takes you from country to country, exploring exotic places and emblematic species like the lemurs of Madagascar and the red pandas of the Himalayas. To navigate around this area, you need to take a trip in a dugout canoe, climb through tree houses, hear the wise words of a story-telling baobab, conquer the maze, and clamber through an insect crater to complete the journey.

The whole park is an opportunity to explore the animal species from around the world throughout the 120 hectares. Overall, it's home to 1,500 animals representing 130 species that roam freely within their beautifully designed habitats, arranged in five distinct areas.

Our brief was to bring to life Neo’s homestead, to create an introduction to Neo and the base for his voyages out into the wider world.

Concept Sketches for Neos home at Parc Sainte Croix by CAP.CO

The Project Development

You can see from the early sketches how the ideas began to develop and designs began to emerge with lots of twists, turns and layered features being added to build the picture of the elements and ideas having been collected from around the world.

Through the initial design process, three main structures emerged, feeling right for Neo's story and to help represent his curiosity for exploration and discovery.

- Neo's Home - The centrepiece to the homestead, a whacky and wonderful building that takes architectural influence from elements across the world, designed to look like it’s been built by the hands of Neo himself.
- The Energy Tower - A multifunctional building and play structure, highlighting alternative energy production through water, wind and natural sources.
- The Observatory - An intriguing space where Neo plans his next adventures and learns about the natural world

Parc Sainte Croix Neo's at Night time - photography by Kev Foster Neo's Observatory

From sketches through to detail design and CGI’s, the process was a real collaboration with the park and those that know it best, with the final development a culmination of this, producing a truly unique experience, that is rooted in it’s place.

‘Le Monde De Neo’ opened in April 2024 and is part of ‘Le Voyage de Néo’. If you are looking for a truly fabulous break with the family amongst some spectacular wildlife, then look no further than Park Sainte Croix.

We love some of the details in this project, so here are a few more for you.

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