Thursday Salute to Originals: An Explosive Wall Surface

In a perfect architectural world, walls are usually flat, white, and seamlessly intersect with the wall and floor planes. Free from tolerances or cracks, generally the wall plane is designed to fade into the background, acting as a blank backdrop in space. When the wall surface is exploded, an entirely new meaning takes shape and a mere architectural plane becomes a vehicle for artistic expression.


Originally erected in 2009 for the Parcours Saint-Germain art show, then later recreated in a Paris boutique store, “Turbo” by Baptiste Debombourg is an art installation of a wall surface treatment. Inspired by the turbo automobile trend in the 1980s, the walls speak of forceful power, much different from the passive vertical dividers we encounter every day.  According to Debombourg, “having a ‘turbo’ in your own car was giving you this feeling of superiority among other common cars. It was meaning you were more powerful than them”.  Applying this ideology to architecture, the wall suddenly comes alive with that palpable, almost violent, energy, contrasting the adjacent “standard” walls in the space.



Exploding ordinary materials out of a customarily plain and flat surface asserts the concept of power and destruction. Form is elevated over function by using shape and material to convey an abstract idea. The solidity of the wall protrudes into the space on an offensive attack, leaving imaginary sound waves echoing through the space it invades.


For shattering the standard notion of the wall plane, we salute Baptiste Debombourg. A purposeful, exacting modification to an ordinary surface erases boundaries and challenges meaning. What do you take away from this installation?

Image credits: Baptiste Debombourg