With the state of affairs as they are, Paris' Cité de la Mode et du Design curator Véronique Thouvenin decided that the institution, and society in general, was in need of some fun. Thus, 'Play!' came along, enlisting designers, artist and architects to transform the Cité's 3,000 sq m foyer into a giant playground.
Designed with all ages in mind – from five to 75 – the immersive exhibition takes visitors on a series of interactive installations ranging from sophisticated, high-tech creations to remastered old favourites. 'Game playing has always been a way of meeting and interacting with strangers,' Thouvenin explains, adding, 'we're in need of some sharing and diversion right now.'
Highlights include Belgian digital artist Tim Knapen's two interactive creations: l'Artisan Électronique, a virtual pottery studio where visitors 'turn' pots on the on-screen wheel then 'fire' them on the 3D ceramic printer; and Godmode, a program that brings their drawings instantly to life with his magic photocopier.
The Fichtre design collective created a new sport named Bantoosh. Played in a stadium-inspired wooden arena, the aim of the game is to score by planting a heavy wooden ball in the opposing team's net. While there is no predetermied team size, the designers recommend a minimum of two and maximum of 40 players take part at once. Unlike football, Bantoosh is played sitting down, and each team member must touch the ball at least once before scoring. The surface dips towards the centre, making scoring that much harder. And players cannot stand during play either – doing so means your team forfeits the game.
For those who would rather play a game they already know, artist Laurent Perbos' inventive and amusing ping pong tables are the perfect fit. His flying carpet-shaped, tubular, square and round tables raise the game to heady new heights.
There's the chance to build your own city too, or experience new culinary discoveries with Uthpala Galhenege. In short, every chance for your inner enfant to enjoy the fleeting summer.