Inflatable Interventions: Soft Spikes Bring Roofless Ruins Back to Life

A series of architectural installations in Scotland contrast sharply with the centuries-old stone architecture and natural landscapes, featuring spiky white inflatables filling in aged cracks and gaps.

Titled XXX, these designs by Steven Messam add movement to Mellerstain’s House and the surrounding gardens — they are the first part of a series of contemporary exhibitions planned for the Borders Sculpture Park on this historic estate. The white inflatables refer abstractly to old marble sculptures that were originally to adorn the grounds.

“Pointed” emerges from an old gatehouse; “Scattered” is spread across the lake, comprised of floating bubbles; and “Towered” pokes out of an aged laundry column. Each one invites interaction and exploration of the site.

“In the use of historical buildings and the designed landscape, XXX draws on the architectural significance” of the estate, says Messam. “As interventions, the sculptures speak the language of scale – all three are bigger than a house. As studies in scale and form, these artworks have to be directly experienced in the environment to be fully appreciated, so i hope they will encourage even more people to visit this wonderful architectural gem in the Scottish borders.”