Sustainable Market Square Third Prize Winning Proposal / Various Architects

  • 01 Dec 2012
  • by
  • Cultural mini Sustainability
Courtesy of Florent Chagny, Soufia Louzir, Thomas Sponti, Florian Chazeau

In their ‘Flying Market’ concept for the sustainable market square proposal in , which won the third prize, the architects began with a simple exercise, utilizing associative words, gathering inspirations and ideas to define the project and its aim. Designed by Florent Chagny, Soufia Louzir, Thomas Sponti, and Florian Chazeau, they decided to propose a ‘magic’ cover, a transformative cap to the utilitarian every-day market. The design, a structural network, levitates over the market utilizing a suspension system of twenty-three colorful Helium balloons. More images and architects’ description after the break.

Courtesy of Florent Chagny, Soufia Louzir, Thomas Sponti, Florian Chazeau

Plenty of images come directly to the mind: colors, smells, people, twilight, getting lost, magical atmospheres, and flying carpets. The first step was to design a pattern inspired by the Moroccan flag’s star, multiplied to create a “Moucharabieh” design, it is the genesis of all of the market’s elements. Visible on the polished grey concrete floor and materialized in the stainless steel joints, it is the drawings’ source of programmatic organization.

master plan

A white translucent canvas sheet, our version of a flying carpet, moves with the balloons creating a versatile and phenomenological market atmosphere for the users below. Responding to the sustainable character of the market, the structural elements are used to collect, treat, and redistribute water. These structural high and low points are spread organically throughout the floor plan. After a coffee or news break in the central social area the market-goers can shop.


Each stall is oriented to the omnipresent star pattern. Each shopkeeper can sell his/her wares from wooden boards mounted to metal trestles, allowing for flexible setup and selling. This allows the space to be utilized for other programmatic functions after the market’s close.

Architects: Florent Chagny, Soufia Louzir, Thomas Sponti, Florian Chazeau
Location: Casablanca,
Use ‐ Site Area(m²): 790m²
Building Area(m²): 570m²
Gross Floor Area(m²): 570m²
Building Coverage Ratio(%): 72%
Gross Floor Ratio(%): 72%
Structure: Helium balloons + a tensile fabric canopy + ground fixations
Maximum Height(m): The top of the highest balloon is at 15m above the ground
Landscape Area (m²): 220m² – It matches a 2m wide strip around the protected area, for pedestrians
Exterior Finish: Colored balloons (5 colors for 5 specific zones) + a white fabric canopy (softly translucent) + polished concrete on the ground + a ground pattern made of stainless steel rails
Competition Status: 3rd Prize

Cite: Furuto, Alison. "Sustainable Market Square Third Prize Winning Proposal / Various Architects" 01 Dec 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <>
  • sdfs


  • baoan

    This proposal is very funny. Decision of the Jury also is very funny… It reminds me the winning entry of the International Competition “REPERE OLYMPIQUE – Paris 2012” which was supporting the French candidature for Olympic Games in 2012. Unfortunately, realization of the winning entry ended as a 3-dimensional pylon with some coloured Michelin- like tyres pulled on it…

  • Tessa

    This is so ironic. How can they place, or even be considered, in a SUSTAINABLE market competition when they propose using large amounts of a limited resource? We’re likely to run out of our supply of helium within the next 30 years which is a problem given its vital uses in medicine, space research, welding and so many other industries around the world. This proposal would require huge amounts of helium and given the nature of the gas (it is extremely good at leaking) seems very unsustainable to me.

  • Deb

    Perfect!!! Very poetic with all the colors, Tessa you should read the informations about the project, so you will see that it is CLEARLY sustainable..just saying…

    • Tessa

      Did you even read my comment? I did read the information. The water redistribution is 100% possible without wasting a valuable resource. It’s a completely unnecessary trade-off. If they knew anything about helium they would know that a)This would not work as the helium would leak horrendously and b)they would be wasting a limited resource when there are other perfectly reasonable alternatives. Where is this water coming from that they’re collecting? Rain is MUCH heavier than helium so even a small amount on the balloons would weigh them down. It’s CLEARLY unsustainable and completely impractical. Oh i’ll throw scientifically impossible into the mix too.

  • Victor Mascarenhas