An environmentally responsive balloon structure
I.D. 2009 Annual Design Review Environment category,
A beacon for the 2008 Taiwan Designers’ Week, the Cloud is a self-floating temporary canopy for an outdoor plaza where the design fair is held. The Cloud defines an outdoor hang out area for events and DJ parties with its shape-shifting 900m3 mass that responds to wind movements and air pressure changes. Encased in a soft translucent sac of synthetic fibers, the Cloud filters scorching sunlight into an ephemeral glow. As air pressure drops before rain falls, the Cloud will react by lowering from its 9-12m flying height to hover just above ground, therefore “predicting” rain during the hot summer week.
The Cloud is buoyed by a 10x30x3m transparent balloon space frame. 12 balloons (d=3.5m) filled with 150,000L of helium gas are tied into a 3D web structure with the balloons acting as “nodes” and nylon ropes of varying lengths as tensile members. The Cloud combines CAD/CAM with a very simple design concept: using minimal means and everyday materials to create surprising environmentally responsive effects.
scope: concept, installation
total floor area: 300 sqm
design: May 2008
construction: June 2008
structure: Masatoshi Tomita
winner of 2009 I.D. Annual Design Review, Environment category