Annabelle Schneider curates installation with "womb-like" structure in New York

Womb-like installation in New York

Local designer Annabelle Schneider has created a “womb-like” installation with an inflatable, “breathing” volume tucked between the pillars of an industrial space in Downtown Manhattan as part of NYCxDesign week.

The Breathe With Me installation was commissioned by the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York to present Swiss design while providing a relaxing space for visitors.

Inflatable sculpture in industrial building
Annabelle Schneider created a “womb-like” installation for NYCxDesign

“In Schneider’s Breathe with Me, soft, breathable textiles create an airy womb-like space synchronized to a polyrhythmic soundscape,” said the team.

“Rhythmic breathing sounds, coupled with soft furnishings, are carefully curated to positively impact the body and mind.”

Furniture placed around room
It was located in the industrial rooms of cultural hub WSA in Manhattan

Located in the cultural centre WSA in downtown Manhattan, the installation consisted of an inflatable, amorphous volume fabricated by inflatable design studio Luft & Laune placed at the centre of the space.

Visitors entered the volume through an arched doorway, where inside, furniture from a USM and PIN-UP Home collaboration and textiles from 4Spaces ZigZagZurich were placed for seating.

White inflatable with blankets and pillow
The installation gently deflated and inflated to create a “breathing” effect

Set to a backdrop of music by Luc Oggier, the volume rhythmically deflated and inflated to create a “breathing” effect.

Schneider said the installation encouraged physical connection to a space in the face of mental health issues faced today, particularly by a younger generation.

Inflatable yellow sculpture

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“I’m a teacher,” she told Dezeen. “I feel like the younger kids are having issues. Mental health is a huge issue, connecting physically is a huge issue [and] attention span is a huge issue. We have to find reasons again to find each other in physical space.”

Seating by Swiss brands Laufen, Schaffner, Studio Christian Wassmann, Tisca and Vitra were placed around the central “womb” and in front of multicoloured curtains by 4Spaces ZigZagZürich, hung along the perimeter.

White inflatable with blankets and pillow
It displayed Swiss-designed furniture while creating a relaxing space for visitors

Schneider said she wanted the furniture to be moveable and accessible to further create a “breathing organism” that visitors could interact with.

She told Dezeen that she wanted it to embody community and intimacy.

Multicolored curtain with chairs
Furniture by Swiss-brands surrounded the central inflatable

Other objects and installations on display place during this year’s NYCxDesign include an inflatable seating system by designer Riley Hooker and a menagerie of small, personal items found throughout several shows.

Swiss-born Annabelle Schneider is a New York-based experience designer. Her work includes physical and virtual spatial installations with a focus on well-being.

The photography is by Kyle Knodell.

Breathe with Me was on show from 17 to 23 May at 161 Water Street in Manhattan. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Project credit:

Concept and experience design: Annabelle Schneider
Inflatable structure: Luft & Laune
Sound: Luc Oggier
Mix and mastering: Ben Mühletaler
Sound system: Piega and HiFi Rose (available through MoFi Distribution)
Floating fabrics: 4Spaces ZigZagZürich
Bar installation: USM Modular Furniture
Space: WSA NY
Visual identity: Piera Wolf, Stephanie Specht, Annabelle Schneider

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