In Paris, A Zany Artificial Garden For Kids (And Their Designy Parents)

Paris has been invaded by a Gesamtkunstwerk! (Bless you?) That is, it’s been enhanced by an all-encompassing, experiential exhibition by industrial designer Matali Crasset at the Pompidou Center. With Le Blobterre de Matali, Crasset has created a multi-sensory fantasy garden in which kids (and their young-at-heart parents) can frolic. Crasset called on past collaborators to help build the place's metal structures, woven tapestries, and leaf-like carpets. The result is an otherworldly space that contains shiny green arbors with strange white, yellow, and green flora. There’s an area where kids can lounge comfortably around a neon bonfire. And in a nearby canopy there’s a slew of long-armed gloves hung upside-down with tiny hands. The exhibit's nothing if not hands-on (zing!). But what good would a Gesamtkunstwerk be if it were only a feast for the eyes and hands? This “primitive and resolutely artificial” garden also provides its own soundtrack and accompanying smells. What's more, it exercises the brain--Crasset made up her own vocabulary ("extratoof," "domosquelettes") for the exhibit. Blobterre stems from Crasset’s desire to make a trip to the museum an interactive experience and to turn visitors into explorers. Looks like she really hit the mark. Kids are free to touch, smell, and play with just about everything in sight. A side note for responsible parenting: While the plants might be imaginary, the germs covering them from so many little hands are all too real. Afterward, a trip to le bain might be in order. [Images courtesy of Matali Crasset]

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