In their ‘Flying Market’ concept for the sustainable market square proposal in Casablanca, 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.
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.
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, Morocco 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