When The Sidewalk Becomes A Waterbed

Artist collective Raum created a very special pavement in Bourges, France. What characterizes this pavement is that it isn’t hard, but floats. The project, called ‘La Ville Molle’ (‘The Soft City’), questions the hardness of the city and its ability to change.

In collaboration with the National Art School of Bourges and FRAC Centre, a huge pad filled with liquid was installed under it, resulting in a completely new experience for passers-by — I guess it feels like the pavement has become a waterbed. The urban environment is usually hard and angular, and we’ve never questioned that idea, but this project does and that’s what makes it interesting. It’s an adults playground that adds a layer of experience to the city.

Waterbed sidewalk

Waterbed sidewalk

Fun, as an design tool in urbanism, is increasingly used to make people proud and cautious of their environment. In some aspects La Ville Molle is comparable to the trampoline sidewalk by Salto that we featured some weeks ago. It changes the conception of the pedestrian infrastructure in our cities. Although this floating pavement isn’t very practical, it teases imagination and helps people to approach public space with a different attitude. If you also want a floating pavement in your own street, then watch this ‘making of’ video carefully and get to work.

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