Tour De Moon - Moon Games by Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios

The Customer – Nelly Ben Hayoun

Nelly Ben Hayoun is a French designer, artist and filmmaker who is now based in London. She is an award-winning director and designer of experiences, in collaboration with scientists and engineers and is dubbed the ‘Willy Wonka of Design and Science’. She also works with museums and design centres around the world both exhibiting and delivering keynote speeches. She is described as ‘a fusion between Andy Warhol and Albert Einstein.’ (Warp Magazine, Mexico).

In 2013 she assembled the International Space Orchestra and launched ‘spine-tingling’ music into space, earning her the nomination of one of the international designers ‘shaping the future’. The following year she earned a WIRED innovation fellowship for her work’s potential to make ‘a significant impact on the world’. In 2015, she was nominated for a Woman of the Year Achievement Award.

Whilst lecturing at the Central St Martin’s College in 2016, she won the CSM University of the Arts Teaching Award.

Ben Hayoun is currently a professor at the Royal College of Art as well as a member of the International Astronomical Federation, Space Outreach and Education committee. She advocates ‘extreme fieldwork’ whereby design is ‘embedded in a physical experience’. In this quest, she has spent time in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, 100m below ground at the Large Hadron Collider and exposed herself to a sonic boom in Japan.

“Nelly Ben Hayoun described as a fusion between Andy Warhol and Albert Einstein.”

The Challenge – To create a huge inflatable playground inspired by the Moon

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios was established in 2009 to devise subversive events, experiences and films which aim to empower countercultures and communities. Their highly ambitious multimedia projects challenge power structures, encourage critical thinking and create cultural change. Through collaboration and consultation with many different creatives, the studio rethinks accepted systems through theatrical experiences. They particularly support the free training of young people through the charity University of the Underground which was founded in 2017.

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios’ tagline is “We believe that nothing is impossible on earth and beyond”. With this is mind, the concept of the Tour de Moon was created. The theme of the Moon was chosen to provide a blank canvas for exploring possibilities for a fantasy nightlife with young people between the ages of 18 and 25 as the target audience.

Glow Inflatables was initially chosen to collaborate on the making of a giant interactive board game for the Moon Games section of the Tour de Moon festival.

Nelly Ben Hayoun Studios’ tagline is “We believe that nothing is impossible on earth and beyond.’

The Solution – Working collaboratively to create a psychedelic lunar landscape

Coordinated by Ben Hayoun’s design team, Tour de Moon sought astrophysicists, sports groups and youth organisations to contribute to the radical reimagining of an alternative future. This included the design of an imaginary lunar landscape which was then developed by the team at Glow into an amazingly bright and colourful inflatable playground for young people to explore and enjoy.

Those attending the sessions were encouraged to use their imaginations to create games from the exciting inflatable options made available to them. These included a hexagonal lunar obstacle course, a gravity-defying air float game and one hundred shiny foam Tetris blocks with which to build a wall. At the creative stage, NASA suggested that the use of helium in some of the inflatable spheres supplied by Glow would make players feel like they were actually on the moon. These brightly coloured crater-pocked moon balls were great fun to play with as they were just below positive buoyancy and would drift very satisfyingly when thrown. The addition of giant blue floodlamps added to the interstellar feel, reflecting atmospherically on the flecked mirror-finish nylon inflatables.

The Moon Games were overseen by an inflatable hero piece – a 7.5-metre-tall astronaut made of multi-coloured mirror finish nylon welcoming players with open arms.

The Outcome

As this exciting project evolved, Nelly Ben Hayoun’s ambitious ideas were perfectly realised by the professional service provided by Glow Inflatables. Such was the closeness of our collaboration with Nelly, she called us her ‘partners in crime’. Once the Moon Games were underway, Ben Hayoun ‘hopped on the Glow train’ and engaged our team to provide a whole host of props to enhance the interactive moon events. These included a curved inflatable sofa in psychedelically marbled PVC for seating the visiting speakers during the Moon Talks – so much more fun and imaginative than standard furniture options. We also produced a playful, interactive worm tunnel as part of the Moon Convey activities.
For the Moon Experiences, standard golf buggies were transformed into alien-like forms with the addition of inflatable pockets of liquid UV ink that sloshed around as the buggy travelled across a craggy surface, illuminated by ultra-violet lights within each venue.

The resulting collaboration was spectacular and met with delight at each of the free public events around the UK.
It was a joy and a privilege to work with the amazing Tour de Moon design team and we look forward to future collaborations with Nelly Ben Hayoun.

“It was a joy and a privilege to work with the amazing Tour de Moon design team and we look forward to future collaborations with Nelly Ben Hayoun.”