Flying Walls / ateliermob


Children curiosity is the tool for a wider reflexion about different ways and velocities of interact and percept daily spaces, depending on our age, using one Portuguese traditional materiality applied to exterior doors to protect from sun and insects, usually rejected and depreciated by contemporary architecture.

In the context of the Festival des Architectures Vives at Montpellier (18th-21st June), on the theme “Ephémères Curiosités”, ateliermob purposed to reinvent children’s universe on one antique mansion’s courtyard of Montpellier.

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An universe that can interact with children and provide them the sense of proportion and scale as long as the possibility to explore their curiosity, over and over, continuously searching for changes in the surrounding space through their own imagination. An intervention that can gain different meanings depending on its form, and enhancing it just because of its ephemeral character. But not only children will achieve alternative spatial versions of the same place. Any other visitor will always have a new perception and will be curious to assist to the spatial evolution. The intervention will contrast with the permanent and solid character of the building’s courtyard and the preservative patrimonial character of the surroundings, turning into an attraction, calling people in to observe or to interact.


Inspired by the work of the Venezuelan artist Jesús Soto (1923-2005), focusing on the desired uncertainty or on the will to contradict permanence/immutability and by the Portuguese traditional plastic stripes anti-fly and shadow door’s structure, reconfigured one courtyard of R. Vallat at Montpellier.

Starting from the solid and permanent (the existing building), ateliermob intended to rescale the courtyard to the children universe, signalizing small details of the existing architecture, changing overall perception and creating different layers of transparency.


The agitation of the plastic stripes, produced by visitor’s movements or by the wind, gave the desired sense of mutation and movement, and children curiosity played a decisive role on this lively architecture.

Next September, ateliermob will be participating at Experimenta Design 2009 (Lisbon), with an intervention following the same principals.

Cite: "Flying Walls / ateliermob" 02 Aug 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • 23 D S

    so ……

  • Marian

    Oauuu This looks Niceeee..

  • dufus

    it’s better than laying with drugs

  • tnam

    ohhhh ahhhh, dumb…

  • Jade Doel

    This is similar if not inspired by Issey Miyake’s fashion show on September 30, 2008, at Le Carrousel du Louvre in Paris. The runway had several curtains of beads that hung from the ceiling that the models walked between, half way through the show the curtains moved up the runway and the sound they created was hypnotising. I can see how children would find this project interesting.

  • medusa

    It is kind of beautiful… although venezuelan artist Jesus Soto did just that more than 30 years ago… and his ‘penetrables’ seemed ever more fun

    google him… here is just one link…

  • Cogs

    It’s a string of beads, was this even worth posting???

  • PlaceAndBeing

    despite my hate for beads, this post stimulates new thinking. it shows that architecture is not limited by constant forms and materials and it explores everything that may affect the spatial quality of a building..

  • jp

    What?! Should this even be considered architecture?? Let’s be honest here, really.

    It wasn’t worth posting. Make it quality, not quantity!

  • imagine


  • fran

    This is something funny, they think they are doing something new… Jesus Soto, a venezuelan artist, created “penetrables” about 35 years ago… You can check this info in google.

    Is the same concept using also the same materials.

  • james

    “The agitation of the plastic stripes, produced by visitor’s movements or by the wind, gave the desired sense of mutation and movement…”

    you can dress it up all you want, but at the end of the day its hanging beads and its been done a million times before.

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  • Jade Doel

    It is a spacial installation that is architecturally driven. If the bead curtain was only used to filter say a doorway, then I wouldn’t consider it architecture. I suppose it’s an argument similar to that of early modernist painters who faced being told that they were not creating art…

  • HarDav

    IT’S BEEN DONE BEFORE, 30 yrs ago = not new thinking
    you don’t need to spend years in Architecture school to come up with this!
    art-daily, maybe. but NOT arch-daily

  • Jose

    In Spain, at least, we had such a courtains, in years 1950-60, they were to avoid flys going into the houses. Sorry I have no images but they look very similar but colorfull.

    Good recycling ha, ha

  • public eye

    ha ha this is funny. My comments have been continuously deleted. I like it. I know they are junks. But I am just enjoying freedom of speech on this website.

  • asdf

    Am I the only one who would rather this conversation be about whether it was done well, or how it could be done better, rather than about the fact that it has been done before… I would challenge any one of you to come up with a contemporary project that hasn’t been done before, in one way or another… Our conversations today should not be about whether something is “new”, but about whether something was done right, or in a new way, or in a new context, or using a new material, or in a way that is more user-generated, or in a way that is more efficient, etc… We need to accept hybridization of that which has been done before… That said, does this project do any of these things? Maybe not. I’m just really tired of the easy, “it’s been done before,” critique and hope this points towards the incompetency of that comment by itself. I’m fascinated to find out about Jesus Soto, but his work doesn’t dismiss this as a waste of time or space. In fact, this project breaths life into his previous work through these conversations. Now, let’s discuss the deeper consequences of these projects (both of them) within the context of the field of “architecture” such as it is… Thanks for the post.

    • james

      @ asdf
      seeing as thought the firm are soon to be engaged in Experimenta Design 2009, i would say that yes it is relevent whether it has been done before.

      I agree that nothing is really new, but this is exactly the same reframed within fairly flimsy ‘theorising’.

      If the space is just a beautiful space- if there is nothing attached to it except the spatial experience then great, but this is presented almost as research.

  • Ralph Kent

    I think the reason some people might have been mentioning that is has been done before is that it has been done before by the same firm, i think, in various places over france. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but I can see why some people would question for how many years you can keep going around hanging string of beads in various public spaces for it to remain news / blog-worthy.

  • RT

    so dumb…such a shame! “intervention?” are u kidding me?