Alas, bounce houses are only for kids, right? Most of the time, whether adults like it or not, that’s the truth. Once you reach a certain height and weight, the average bouncy castle of the sort seen at children’s birthday parties simply can’t accommodate you, lest you destroy the whole thing with a dramatic pop and stand aside to watch it slowly wither to a pile of plastic on the floor. But what if you could inhabit your inner child enough to go completely bonkers jumping around on a literal bounce mountain, no matter your current size?
Aether Architects allowed the city of Shenzhen, China to do just that with “Air Mountain,” an inflatable pavilion created for this year’s Oct Phoenix Flower Carnival. It’s made of just two materials, PVC and air, and its massive play surface is absolutely perfect for climbing and bouncing. On top of that, it contains inhabitable spaces that serve as a venue for the event’s concerts, theatrical performances, forums, and workshops. The outer surface is free to access and open to the public.
The architects say they envisioned Air Mountain as both a multifunctional building and a natural terrain that would allow people to free their imaginations. They explain: “the architectural design of Air Mountain is based on two main thoughts: ‘micro-ecological geometry’ and ‘multidimensional relationship, multidimensional phenomenon.’ ‘Micro-ecological geometry’ is a concept of the process from the basic geometric deformation to final architectural form based on the evolution of the ‘Environment/Event’ demand.”
“‘Multidimensional relationship’ is a concept of ‘fusion/penetration’ between things. Architecture is not a single function solid volume, nor is it a static object…it is a synthesis based on the synchronic combination of multi-element and multi-function. Here, the Air Mountain presents not an independent physical individual, but a fusion of architecture and surroundings, the fusion of different activities, the fusion of different states and behaviors, and the relationship between manmade and natural.”
You might say that’s a lot of lofty language for an inflatable play structure, but Air Mountain is pretty special in a variety of ways. It draws from the surrounding landscape, the needs of the festival, the desires of the public, and a sense of childlike wonder and combines it all in one fun-filled installation. Plus, since it’s inflatable, it offers an incredibly easy way to install, transport, and take down a large-scale temporary structure that’s truly interactive.
It’s fun just to see pictures of adults bouncing on all of Air Mountain’s surfaces with wild abandon. Doesn’t it make you wish you could hop on a flight to China and climb the unusual installation yourself?