Taking inspiration from the outdoor cafés and restaurants, French artist Baptiste Debombourg has realized a site-specific installation in Nantes, France, as part of Le Voyage à Nantes (Nenates, Take the journey), an annual cultural project that fills the city with both temporary and permanent art works.

Baptiste Debombourg’s work takes the real world and morphs it into something new. He reacts to specific contexts and transmutes different substances like an alchemist: Styrofoam packing materials are transformed into neo-Gothic altars.


It is only natural that Baptiste Debombourg designed his project after observing the Place du Bouffay and the great presence of outdoor restaurants and cafés. An outdoor patio is synonymous with socializing. The chair composing it can be seen as representative of a person. The artist decided to play with this presence by creating a large aerial sculpture that contradicts the gravity of everyone anchored to the ground.


In a dialogue with the volume of the public square and the height of the buildings, two ellipses of chairs rise up into the air, meet, and then separate. The shape also takes its inspiration from an artwork that Robert Delaunay made for the “Palais de l’Air” during the Paris World’s Fair in 1937. In it, the artist put man back in his place as an integral part of his environment, subjected to its laws.

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all images courtesy of Galerie Patricia Dorfmann – Paris