Thursday Salute to Originals: White Balloons

We typically think of a balloon as a weightless, airy object that floats effortlessly above the built world without ever clashing with it. Today’s artist brings the ethereal balloon down to earth, producing images that provoke thought about materiality, density, and spatial usage.


Charles Pétillon uses white balloons as an artistic intervention in public space. Choosing everyday scenes, Pétillon inserts the floating orbs into the voids to inject new meaning and challenge our perception of space. This expounds on the basic architectural concept of solid vs. void, creating explosive movement propelling outward from blank spaces. It is interesting to note that Pétillon’s images are completely devoid of human occupation, a challenge for those architects and interior designers whose usual mantra is to design for the people / form follows function.

INVASIONS DE BALLONS from Charles Pétillon on Vimeo

While balloons may be a simple medium to physically wrangle (as opposed to fragile, heavy onyx panels!), the works still follow a formal development process. The balloons are clustered together in a warehouse on custom structures and then transported to site where they are artfully arranged like a floral bouquet. Each balloon is independently tweaked to ensure that, individually and as a group, the arrangement evokes the intended reaction.



For the absurd arrangements that cause us to ponder space in general, today we salute Charles Pétillon and his exacting use of whimsical materials. His wacky installations truly make these scenes and our imaginations POP!

Image credits: Inhabitat