Public art and urban design: A tenth spring

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Seduced by O-Hanami, a Japanese traditional custom of admiring the ephemeral beauty of the cherry blossoms, the installation designed by Mickaël Martin, Margaux Rodot, Benoît Tastet allows the spectator to plunge into a suspended moment.

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Inspiration

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Welcoming the ‘Festival des architectures vives’ in French town Montpellier, which takes place on a yearly basis within the inner courtyards of selected town-houses, the installation celebrates the spring of cultural heritage. The courtyards resemble deeply anchored trees within the city’s historic centre, of which the displayed artworks would symbolise the ephemeral blossoming of its flowers.

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A living installation

“A tenth spring” takes place within the Griffy townhouse courtyard. Throughout the day, viewers are exposed to the varying perceptions of the installation, as witnessed through the ever-changing reflections of the ‘petals’ on the surrounding historic windows. The foliage brightens towards the end of the day as the petals fall, renewing the experiences.

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4000 balloons

Staging this springtime scene involves layering discrete nets towards the sky, 10 meters high above the courtyard. Each day, 650 helium balloons are released to compose the ephemeral foliage. Variations in the volume of helium used to inflate enables the balloons to descend throughout the entire day, reflecting the falling petals of the cherry tree. In order to renew the process across the 6 days of the festival, approximately 4000 balloons and 7m3 of helium are required.

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The Hanami spirit

Once the balloons fall to the ground, a sign that spring is advancing, brings joy to children. For adults, joy is found in laying on the ephemeral meadows whilst having a picnic or to simply enjoy the moment, capturing the essence of the Hanami.

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