From August 27 to September 27, the 19th Century Market Building in London’s Covent Garden is home to 100,000 giant white balloons, an installation aptly titled Heartbeat. This awe-inspiring display is the work of French artist Charles Ptillon–his first public art installation–and it stretches 54 meters (177 feet) in length and 12 meters (39 feet) in width. Embedded within the cloud-like mass is a gentle pulsating light, meant to symbolize the beat of a heart and also reflect the Garden district’s sense of energy and dynamism.
The unified orbs are suspended within the grand architecture, infusing modernity into the historical space. Ptillon hopes that their unexpected presence will encourage passersby to view the locale in a different light. “The [balloons’] goal is to change the way in which we see the things we live alongside each day without really noticing them,” he says. “With Heartbeat I want to represent the market building as the beating heart of this area – connecting its past with the present day to allow visitors to re-examine its role at the heart of London’s life.”
Ptillon’s installation has launched ahead of the London Design Festival, which runs from September 19 to the 27th.
Photography by Paul Grover