Discover the history of inflatable architecture at the Centre Pompidou-Metz

How pneumatic dreams became reality

The Centre Pompidou-Metz’s Aerodream exhibition traces our fascination with inflatable architecture by exploring the last century of pneumatic buildings.

Magazines, posters, photographs, films and conceptual artwork take visitors on a journey from the development of the materials that made inflatables possible, through to the blow-up craze of the 1960s and beyond. Aerodream traces key moments in history, showing how early airships and weather balloons gradually developed into a countercultural art and architecture movement.

Images of work by the likes of Christo and Jeanne-Claude as well as Yutaka Murata is on display, alongside more recent efforts such as Kego Kuma’s Fuan teahouse – created by a helium balloon wrapped in lightweight organza.

The exhibition also draws attention to the impact of the 1970s petrol crisis, and the more recent reinvigoration of pneumatic design – which has been reclaimed by major architects such as Diller Scofidio + Renfro and Snøhetta.

Taneo Oki and Sekkeirengo's Mushballoon at the Osaka World Expo, 1970. Photography: Centre Pompidou-Metz
Taneo Oki and Sekkeirengo’s Mushballoon at the Osaka World Expo, 1970. Photography: Centre Pompidou-Metz

Aerodream is on display until 23 August 2021, and then at the Cité de l’architecture in Paris until 14 February 2022.

Inflatable architecture fans in the UK can experience Jeremy Deller’s gargantuan bouncy castle, ‘Sacrilege’ this summer at Windsor’s Oakley Court. The 2012 piece is a giant, air-filled version of Stonehenge that will be installed on the hotel’s 35-acre grounds.

AZC, Pont Trampoline à Paris, 2012. Photography: Centre Pompidou-Metz
AZC, Pont Trampoline à Paris, 2012. Photography: Centre Pompidou-Metz
COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, City Soccer, Vienna, Austria, 1971. Photography: Centre Pompidou-Metz
COOP HIMMELB(L)AU, City Soccer, Vienna, Austria, 1971. Photography: Centre Pompidou-Metz

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