London 2020 – In this age of crisis, humans are developing individual bubbles where everything seems safer. Amidst this, designers are rethinking their role and how their practice needs to evolve to help support societies remain united, metaphorically if not physically. French designer Marlène Huissoud has created the UNITY installation during London Design Festival that inflates revealing itself only when visitors team up.
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Visitors are invited to stand in a circle 2 metres apart surrounding the installation. Controlled by foot pumps, they work together in a symbol of strength and hope, to breathe life into the piece.
Participants involved pump the system, slowly unveiling a new form as the installation transforms in shape in front of their eyes: growing, dancing, breathing and revealing its full potential. If no one is pumping, the installation will deflate and lose its power and vitality.
A Festival Commission for Coal Drops Yard in King’s Cross, the UNITY installation emphasises the notion of togetherness as well as the importance of working together to repurpose and reconsider our shared environments as we emerge from the pandemic. The installation has an intention to send a message of optimism: by standing strong together, we have the tools and power to create a better world and change the system.
“We completely changed the original project concept planned – as the pandemic urged us as humans to make a ‘last’ call for action.” Says Huissoud. “More than ever, artists and designers need to redefine their roles and use their skills to shake society. This installation is more than an interactive piece, it is for society to wake up and realise how vital it is for us to be united and act as a whole.”
All photos: courtesy of London Design Festival.