Freecell is a design and fabrication practice based in Brooklyn, NY, directed by partners Lauren Crahan and John Hartmann. The firm specializes on small scale commissions, as you can see on the many projects featured at their website.
Freecell's “Cumulus” proposal for the P.S.1 2010 explores pneumatic structures, which respond to the weather changing its configuration between sunny and cloudy days:
- to be in and between, below and on, puffy formations of water vapor is as impossible as it is desirable
This experience is the intention behind, Cumulus, a pneumatic installation of bulging volumes which squeeze and release spaces, allowing the adventurous to transform their sense of elevation and gravity.
Using resources wisely, the pneumatic structures achieve their mass with air, powered by solar energy. In bright sunlight, the clouds would be fully inflated creating a firm bulbous volume and much desired shade. As the temperature rises the clouds become heavy, letting loose a light rain through a system of sprayers.
With the loss of sunlight, and the presence of clouds, the volumes would have less air pressure and loose their rigidity. The shade canopy alters to become thin sheets hanging and draped within their tensile structure, suspended above.
The two volumes that touch the ground, one at entry from street and one at entry from dance floor, are occupiable at night. Extending the physical participation beyond the dance floor, we were interested providing a dialog of the internal occupant’s pressure of touch with the space outside the volume. Is it met with another hand or body or wall? This membrane enclosure becomes a vehicle for discovery, through the scalar medium of shadow and the blind searching touch.
The shaping of the ground, both the ground itself and the changing canopy above, transforms ones sense of altitude and horizon, accentuating the experience of being atop a mountain within a plane of clouds.