Arnhem – The cross-disciplinary collaboration between -based designer Roos Meerman and architect Bart van den Hoven sparked our interest and led to their appearance in The Challenge.
Your concept is inspired by global warming?
ROOS MEERMAN: The built environment will increasingly relate to and behave like nature. Flexibility and thinking in cycles will become the norm. We will move cities when they are threatened by nature and no longer settle in only one place. Entire nations will move for political or economic reasons. We will need mobile facilities to meet these changing demands and needs.
Where does hospitality fit into this?
BART VAN DEN HOVEN: Rooms, including temporary accommodation, will need to become flexible, adaptive and responsive to the specific needs of groups of people.
Can you give an example?
RM: I’m considering an extension of the Aera Fabrica technique that I developed. It’s a combination of blow-moulding, glass-blowing and 3D printing that inflates to become a flexible form. I’ve worked with Bart on upscaling the technique to create inflatable 3D prints on an architectural scale.
So what’s your concept?
BvH: Temporary 3D-printed homes called Flos [one Flo, two Flos]. The printer makes a small-scale portable model that is blown up on site to fulfil the requirements for that specific location and time.
How does it work?
RM: Flos are made of bioplastic. Heating the balloon makes it flexible and thus transformable. Cooling it solidifies the form. Each custom-printed Flo comes with an interior that includes bed, chairs and table – all of which can be 3D printed in the preform, allowing a whole room to be inflated in one go. Flo’s inflatable property enables the structure to adapt perfectly to the spatial limits of any context.
This is an edited version of the full Q&A with Meerman and van den Hoven. To read the full piece, which includes questions about sustainability and the uses of the Flo for less socially minded clients, you can .