Inflatable event space goes on site

Thibaut Devulder

We have designed an inflatable pavilion for the Museum of Modern Art in Lille, France. The pavilion will house events celebrating the re-opening of the Museum, from 21st to 26th September 2010.

On reopening after more than 4 years of refurbishment and extension, the Museum wanted to hold its celebratory events in a striking alternative to the standard marquee. They called on Thibaut's specialist knowledge of fabric and membrane architecture, and Alina's design flair to come up with the idea for the events pavilion.

Located in the sculpture park at the entrance to the Museum, the pavilion will be the focal point for a week-long programme of events, including the formal opening of the Museum by French Culture and Communications Minister, Frédéric Mitterrand, on September 21st. 

The inflatable structure and flexible design mean that the pavilion can be simply depressurised and stored after the celebrations, ready to house future events ranging from theatrical performances to video installations.

The organic shape of the pavilion is meant to stand out from the Museum buildings behind, making it a clear focal point for arriving visitors. It will help to welcome and introduce people to the extended Museum and its huge, exciting collection of Modern art.

Inflatable structures are an excellent way to cover a large area for events. They are more efficient and interesting than traditional tent marquees. The lack of rigid poles gives a clear floor area, they are quick to set up, look fantastic during the event, and then fold away into a tiny storage area.

Designed to hold up to 350 people for events and performances, the pavilion is constructed of lightweight fabric by specialist manufacturer Inflate and was shipped to the Museum site in a single container. 

When pressurised with electric fans the double skinned fabric rapidly deploys to form a rigid but organically-shaped enclosure, covering a space 40m (130 feet) long by 15m (50 feet) at its widest point.

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