Introducing URBAN LIGHTS RUHR in Hamm I PLASTIQUE FANTASTIQUE – an interview

In the end of September, the new light art exhibition format URBAN LIGHTS RUHR is illuminating the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Hamm. Five international artists teams were invited to approach urban issues of the Ruhr region via the medium of light: Jun Yang, plastique fantastique, RaumZeitPiraten, Sans façon and LAb [au].




25.09. – 11.10.2014


Urbane Künste Ruhr is delighted to accompany the URBAN LIGHTS RUHR as a media partner: We will accompany the festival with exclusive interviews with the participating artists’ collectives! 


Founded in 1999, the team of plastique fantastique considers itself as a platform for temporary architecture. The collective consists of architects, engineers, sculptors and designers working in public space. Their temporary architectural installations implement urban interventions in public space by transforming and blurring the borders between public and private spheres. The artists’ collective wants to open up new perspectives, analysing and reinterpreting the chosen public locations. Based in Berlin, they work internationally with changing project teams. asked them about their take on temporary architecture, how they are creating their urban interventions and discovers what puts the plasti(c)que in fantastique!

all illus. (c) plastique fantastique


How – and why – did you start working as a collective?

More than a collective I would say that plastique fantastique is a platform for temporary architecture which merges the expertise of different creative subjects like architects, sculptors, musicians, designers etc. The goal is to use bubbles as a “tool” to investigate urban and social issues in a playful approach. The pneumatic structure is a medium to experience the same physical setting in a temporary extraordinary situation. Plastique fantastique is a loupe which helps to reflect public and private space and invites to communicate and interchange experiences.

Tell us more about your project for Urban Lights Ruhr!

Rettungsring (c) plastique fantastique (Marco Canevacci)

Rettungsring (c) plastique fantastique (Marco Canevacci)

It is a promenade, created in order to relive the historical Hamm´s green belt. The project plays within the connection of green areas, water, sky and, of course, air. It includes four installations, each one devoted to a different sensorial experience. SOUND of LIGHT, RETTUNGSRING, SUPERTUNNEL and AEROPOLIS invite the visitor to enjoy a spectrum of perceptions. This path abstracts the upcoming urban development of town.

Many of your installations are made in cooperation with other artists …

Together with sound artist Marco Barotti we designed many interactive sound installation. Our last work – The Pulse of London, Saatchi Gallery, London, 2013 – was conceived to mix our organism with sound and architecture.

SOUND of LIGHT is also a synesthetic sound sculpture. Its architecture has an inner core of six columns related to the 7 basic colours (RGB + CMYK) that filter sunlight and denote the respective transposition of colour into audio frequencies. It is an urban installation which focuses on a specific area – the formal music pavillon in Hamm – and dissolves its boundaries to enhance perception. SOUND of LIGHT is a composition of hue, saturation, and light. People always have the possibility to discover their own concert which arises from their unique point of view – an individual spectrum.

What materials are you working with, and why?

We mostly work with polyethylene, polyurethane and polyvinylchlorid, they are very light and elastic materials. One idea for the future is to reuse pneumatic structures as a formwork to be filled with other different materials, like bamboo, paper or even ice.

Aeropolis (c) plastique fantastique (Camilla Mantovani)

Aeropolis (c) plastique fantastique (Camilla Mantovani)

Besides SOUND of LIGHT we planned 3 further installation along Hamm´s green belt:

Along the pond you’ll find the RETTUNGSRING (lifesaver), an experimental feature designed to bring together the two elements of air and water. SUPERTUNNEL will be located under the 30 meters long pedestrian tunnel, which is connecting the green belt with the riverside. Here you’ll walk into a ludical transclaustrophobic shadow play. Finally, directly at the rivershore, you’ll enter AEROPOLIS, our inflatable human aquarium.

How do you develop your projects? Are you working conceptually or do you find inspiration on site, spontaneously?

Even if our temporary architectures are studied and adapted on a particular urban environment, their development always refers to ideas that we’ve been exploring in previous projects. Topics use to come back in our work, and each project includes variations of previous installations. Nevertheless each structure is a unique solution and is conceived ad hoc.

Are there role models, influences, inspirations, … which inspire your work?

The visionary architectures of the 60s and 70s inspired us a lot but the biggest muse has been the city of Berlin of the early 90s which gave us a high sensitivity to deal with temporary spaces!

Marco and the team of plastique fantastique, thank you for sharing!


No comments.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Translate »