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Coach unveils handbag-inspired blow-up sculpture in Soho square

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You’ve never walked through a giant snaking balloon sculpture, you say? This weekend is your chance, for at 8am this morning French artist Cyril Lancelin erected a vast inflatable maze-like pale pink sculpture in Soho Square, in partnership with American fashion brand Coach.

Inspired by the puffy, pillowy leather of Coach’s latest ‘it’ bag the Pillow Tabby, one that’s been uber popular with gen Z TikTokers, the structure took several months to construct from a highly technicaly polyester fabric sewn into tubes… and just ten minutes to fill with air. Like the bag, the sculpture is enticingly tactile and soft to the touch.

“This is not the kind of artwork you stand and look at,” he explains, “it’s a piece you interact with; the public is part of the artwork,” says Lancelin of the artwork that is constructed, miraculously , of a single piece and measures eight metres by eight at full capacity, but deflated fits in the boot of a car. “When it’s not inflated on the floor it looks like a giant puzzle. Until it’s finished you don’t see anything, you need to inflate it to see its shape. It’s very efficient.”

While climbing is not encouraged, its an artwork very much designed for people to walk in and around. There’s also an accompanying AR element which will allow tech-savvy visitors to add things to the artwork and play with its volume and shape in virtual reality.

The sculpture, which will dominate Soho Square until Sunday before flying on to Berlin and Dubai, is made from polyester and will have air running through it constantly. Should someone make a scratch it will remain erect, unlike your average PVC pool float, which would deflate instantly. “It’s totally different,” Lancelin assures, “but of course I don’t want people to make holes in it!”

Coach

Instagramming is however positively encouraged: “I like the social media aspect because I like to see people’s creativity,” he says. “When I’ve done similar large-scale artworks in other cities people have even gone home to change their clothes before they take pictures!” One suspects Coach’s tubular experience will be similarly popular on the ‘gram.

“When I studied art you would see only one official photo of a famous artwork, but these days you see so many which I think is very interesting. For public artwork the light from the sun is so important, at different times of the day you get different light and you can get completely different images.”

Let’s hope London’s influencers are blessed with sun not snow.

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