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FAIRE 2022

Fictional devices to better grasp the city of the future

Poumtchak Studio—Charly Dufour & Elsa Lebrun

A catalog of fictional devices to better grasp the city of the future and raise awareness of contemporary social and architectural challenges.

A catalog of fictional devices to better grasp the city of the future and raise awareness of contemporary social and architectural challenges.


-  “How can the energy use of cities be reduced?
-  How can the presence of women in the public space be affirmed?
-  How can one enjoy a terrace as a non-smoker?
-  How can we face climate disruption?
-  How can we anticipate rising water levels?
-  …

Have you ever wondered how you could address these issues in your daily life?
Halfway between reality and fantasy, the ‘Catalog of fictional devices to better grasp the city of the future’ is an instrument for raising awareness around contemporary social and architectural challenges. It tackles, questions, and critiques these issues at the scale of the human body. The catalog provokes peoples’ consciences and challenges biases, using absurdity as a vector of communication.

-  A cost-saving, sound-detecting lamppost, which lowers the energy use of cities as it is activated 10 minutes at a time after it is screamed at.
-  Female presence-amplifying clappers, which highlight the presence of women in the public space.
-  A climate stabilizer, which counters climate disruption by providing an oversupply of heat (in the form of hot pepper) or coolness (peppermint chewing gum).
-  An EMF-blocking helmet, which protects the residents of connected cities.
-  An anti-stressful city suit, which haptically lowers stress levels during rush hour.
-  An office intimacy bubble for open-plan setups.
-  …

Through our bodies, we feel, touch, perceive, and listen to our environments. By acting directly on them, we can change our perception of our surroundings. We thus design portable devices in order to turn residents into active agents of the transformation of the city by having them wear physical responses to contemporary challenges on their own bodies.

As architects, we consider that taking action by offering tangible alternatives is much needed. But such action requires first going through a process of identifying and understanding the issues raised.”

Poumtchak is a scenography and architecture research studio, founded in 2021 by Charly Dufour and Elsa Lebrun, both architects.

Through the studio, they question different ways of perceiving space by playing with the senses.
They defend a double dimension:
- architectural research, through which they analyze contemporary architectural and societal issues through the prism of the senses.
- scenography, through which they put their research into practice. With the help of devices, they place the body at the heart of their projects by building new spaces halfway between the real and the imaginary.

Collaboration: Michelin Guide (scenography), Macki Festival (scenography), ENSA Lyon (research and teaching), ENSA Paris-Malaquais (scenography and teaching), École zéro (workshop), Maison de l'architecture de Poitiers (conference), Cité de la Musique (scenography) and Cité de l'architecture (scenography).

Distinction: Winners 2021 and 2022 of the Place au Son competition of the Unesco Sound Week.


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