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Assistant professor, Angie Co, installed "Floats" within the private courtyards of seventeenth century mansions in Montpellier, France for the sixth edition of the Festival of Lively Architecture.
The Festival of Lively Architecture celebrates the work of a new, ‘lively’ generation of architects, within the forgotten eras and spaces of Montpellier. Each year ten young architects and a university are invited to design an installation in a private courtyard. This year the invited architects were asked to use the theme, "Encounter." The public was invited to explore Montpellier's private courtyards and experience the installations from June 15 - 19, 2011.
Co describes experiences in the festival, "FAV is a great event. Each year, the festival opens up to the public 10-15 of the 70+ private courtyards in the old city. Each courtyard is relatively small, on average about 400 square feet, but are incredible spaces--mine, in the Hotel Mirman, had limestone walls rising 60' to frame a rectangle of clear blue sky, and an arched, open stairwell on one end.
I wanted to create a spatial and material installation that was both familiar (i.e. it's a balloon), and foreign (i.e. it's over-scaled).
For me, the thematic of "Encounter" is intriguing in the sense of encounters between bodies--not just human bodies, but also architectural bodies. A really big, puffy, silver donut can be architectural, not just in terms of its scale, but also in the way it both fills an existing space and reorganizes it. It only squeezes into the courtyard diagonally. You move around it, it draws your vision up, and you can look through it's central hole. It magnifies the environmental effects in the courtyard, such as light, color, and temperature. Materially, it's dimpled and soft. It moves slowly in the wind, almost slow-motion slow. You push it and the force ripples outward, making a strange compound jiggle as it swings. I think that's one of the best things about it.
As an architect participating in FAV, it was fascinating to see all the other installations and to meet the other teams. Lots of fun and talented people."
Students who helped install 'Floats':