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An Upside-Down Roller Coaster Of Café Seats In France

French artist Baptiste Demombourg does outsider sculptures that repurpose old or broken objects, like making an indoor tidal wave out of smashed old windscreens. His latest piece is just as weird, but feels a tad less post-apocalyptic: it’s like a time-lapse photo of a crazy upside-down roller coaster, made out of standard European café chairs.

Standing in the public square of the Place du Boufay in Nantes, France, Stellar is an aerial sculpture that takes its inspiration from Robert DuLaunay’s ‘Palais de L’Air,’ a design from the 1937 Paris World Fair that shares the same colorful loop-de-loop pattern. But there’s nothing aerial about Demombourg’s medium here: he’s using 1,200 different chairs in red, green, yellow, and blue, attached to rails.

Stellar has been set up in the Place du Bouffay as a sort of dramatic acrobatic tribute to the kind of people watching and café socializing that is a standard part of French life. According to Demombourg, each chair is meant to be representative of a person; by swooping up in two arc de tired rumps, the sculpture is meant to contradict the gravity of the regular café-goers rooted to the ground.

You can see Stellar in person until August 30. I love it. Outside of a roller coaster, Stellar reminds me of one of those crazy Japanese bike garages. It’s like someone took the same Rube Goldberg-style approach to storing empty café seats when they’re not being used.

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