During the Decours Design exhibition in New Orleans, artist and designer Mary Hale presented her Itinerant Home on the rooftop of the DH Holmes Building in the city’s French quarter.
The project was to remember the efforts of rebuilding the area after hurricane Katrina ravaged the region years ago. Now, Katrina’s destruction still endures, but not by lack of effort on the parts of local and international groups led by citizens and celebrities alike, doing their part to rebuild the city and provide homes for those displaced by the floods.
Referencing Lucy Orta‘s earlier work, ‘Refugee Wear’, Itinerant Home provides a point of discussion of the different housing possibilities.
The installation takes the form of a wearable, inflatable house which shelters multiple wearers working together to navigate through historic neighbourhoods and water bodies of New Orleans. It expands on the definition of bodywear, going beyond the gallery to be seen and worn by the public of New Orleans in the context of their historical building stock. It symbolises and stimulates ways of thinking about architecture of the home and the future of the city.
To produce the wearable abode, Hale made digital models and laid out patterns in AutoCAD. The overall ‘superstructure’ of the house is made from 53-gram breathable ripstop nylon and 8.2 metres of black 14 mil PVC for the floor and windows. The fabric of the home will stay inflated as long as there is a constant source of air maintained within the space.
Itinerant Home was commissioned by the New Orleans chapter of the American Institute of Architects.