Paper + Air

Presented by: Deborah Schneiderman, Alex Schweder

The Paper + Air lounge installation was sited at the SOFA (Sculptural Objects and Fine Art) Art fair in Chicago Illinois, 2016 for a period of four days. Inhabitation as a defining concern differentiates the approach to the design of the interior from other design disciplines. The Paper + Air lounge installation was conceptualized to heighten the experience of inhabitation by engaging SOFA visitors with the installation. The design was instigated by the notion that a city is a place of constant change. Paper + Air considers the life of a city and seeks to unify the past, present, and future through forms that might be found in the overlap between expansion and contraction. The goal is to ultimately fabricate a lounge that is readily transportable without compromising its spatial impact. The environment was fabricated from two primary materials: paper, made spatial through parametric design and folding, and air as an inflatable structure. The use of paper is binary; it represents the future with the implementation of a computer-aided process that creates infinite permutations of form and nods to the past with the human intervention of folding and assembly. The team was motivated by an ability to make large structures readily. The creation of a compressible temporary structure avoids many of the bureaucratic difficulties of permanent structures, and such an installation can nimbly adapt to the restrictions of site. The materials also make possible the transformation of an otherwise ordinary site into a stage for experimentation. The inflatable structures transform from a formless pile of plastic to something recognizable and architectonic and back again. Surrounded by examples of historic buildings that by nature change over time, we understand that buildings are already time-based and can be understood as performances if a viewer could sit and observe them for hundreds of years. The opportunity with inflatable structures is one that can speed this process up to something a spectator could register. The inflatables, operated by remote control, are inflated and deflated regularly to respond to lounge inhabitants. Paper + Air is a place of inhabitation and visitor experience is both physically and visually shifted with the compression and expansion of the inflatables. When inhabiting the lounge the visitor’s experience is in flux with the rise and fall of the inflatable elements both around and beneath them.

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