Beyond "experience tourism" and light entertainment, temporary architecture is a fertile ground for testing ideas, examining places, popularizing new concepts and technologies. Taking a wide array of forms, from disaster relief projects and utilitarian structures to design experiments, architectural statements and playful installations, transient structures showcase alternative visions for the built environment, opening up new possibilities and questioning established norms. As temporary architecture now seems at odds with sustainability imperatives, the following discusses the value of temporary architecture as a vehicle of experimentation, advancing design and engaging communities.
Plastique Fantastique: The Latest Architecture and News
Plastique Fantastique Wrap Inflatable Intervention around Historic Sculpture for Helsinki Design Week
German collective Plastique Fantastique have created “superKOLMEMEN,” an inflatable structure encircling a historic sculpture in Three Smiths Square (Kolmen sepän aukio) in downtown Helsinki for Helsinki Design Week. Throughout the event, the installation was used as a space for lectures, performances and workshops, as well as a casual gathering place.
Plastique Fantastique's pneumatic structures were originally conceived in 1999 through necessity: "The fact that we used plastic was just due to the fact that we had no money," explains the firm's founder Marco Canevacci. "So, plastic was just the cheapest material we could imagine, and you can join parts very easily and you can create very simple architectures. By using a hot air blower, those architectures become warm places to stay." By using warm air to inflate the structures, their office became a landscape of heated pods in an otherwise cold space. However, through their continued experiments over almost two decades, Plastique Fantastique's pneumatic interventions have now come to make the case for an ephemeral, temporary, and whimsical architecture. Their work now continues a lineage started by the experimental utopian group Haus-Rucker-Co, whose own pneumatic structures of the 1960s were disposable, free-wheeling creations which both literally and metaphorically played with the boundaries of a world they saw as staid, rigid, and dull.
Last year, Plastique Fantastique was invited to the 180 Creative Camp held by Canal 180 in Abrantes, Portugal, where their giant, inhabitable Strawberry Ice Cream Cone took over a public place to provide a unique and fun spatial experience. To mark this event, Canal 180 produced a short film highlighting some key recent projects by the firm and documenting the construction of their latest work. Watch the video above, and read on to see more images of the installation in Abrantes.
Temporary architecture is often misrepresented as a flimsy trend or photo-ready quick fix: easy, entertaining and often, mistakenly, cheap. This is Temporary concerns itself with a group of young, emerging, socially minded group of architects and designers who are taking the city back into their own hands and creating experimental sites for interaction and engagement. These architects, collectives, students and artists are designing transient structures, situations and events that invest and embed themselves in a community, public space or set of ideas.
Read an excerpt from the book This is Temporary after the break.
After being announced as the winners of the 180 Creative Camp Open Call for Urban Interventions, earlier this year the Colombian team of María Mazzanti and Martin Ramirez realized their design for the city center of Abrantes, Portugal. The project, entitled “Domesticity,” reached out to residents of Abrantes for unused furniture, which the designers refurbished, repainted, and reused to create a shared outdoor living space where people could interact. The designers arranged the furniture pieces to encourage writing and drawing, and built a mailbox to house conversation topics.
From July 5th to 12th 180 Creative Camp will invade the center of Portugal, bringing to Abrantes unique creative collaborations between several celebrated national and international artists in areas like street art, video, design, music and architecture.
Everyone is invited to participate in this special week in Abrantes, watch and take part in the activities - from concerts, to workshops and talks - and work with the artists that will be a part of 180 Creative Camp.
Street artist INSA, director Alex Turvey, electronic musician Iago Lewis, German collective Plastique Fantastique and multidisciplinary artist Christopher Derek Bruno are some of the names that 180 Creative Camp is bringing to Abrantes during the week of July 5th to 12th.
Based in Berlin, Plastique Fantastique experiments with public architectural works to create unique spatial experiences right in the middle of a city. These giant plastic bubble installations which take on different shapes in different cities, immediately snatch people’s attention and create a temporary focal point in the city centers.
More about the bubbles after the break.