The Other Volcano by Nelly Ben Hayoun

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The Other Volcano by Nelly Ben Hayoun

French designer Nelly Ben Hayoun wants volunteers to live with a volcano in their lounge. 

The Other Volcano by Nelly Ben Hayoun

Called The Other Volcano, the project comprises a porcelain model of a volcano filled with explosives. Volunteers would plug the device into the mains and wait, knowing it could erupt at any time.

The Other Volcano by Nelly Ben Hayoun

The volcano is currently on show in the windows of the Wellcome Trust in London.

Ben Hayoun developed the project in collaboration with volcano expert Carina Fearnley and explosives were created by designer Austin Houldsworth (more about his work here).

It was first presented at Sunbury Workshops during the London Design Festival last month. See all our stories about the festival in our special category.

The information that follows is from Nelly Ben Hayoun:


THE OTHER VOLCANO by Nelly Ben Hayoun

Do you want your everyday life to go with a BANG? Is being in the centre of one of the nature biggest spectacle of smoke, dust and lava will blow you up?

How would you deal with a live volcano in the middle of your living room? Would you ignore it? Would you wrap it up?

Come and experience a first ceramic version of my new project “The other volcano” developed in collaboration with with Austin Houlsdworth (explosive designer) and Carina Fearnley (volcanologist) a 1000 times scale down revival of the Mount St Helen’s explosion in the heart of Shoreditch, East London. It will be part of 'Sunbury workshops Open studios' during London Design Week from 18th to 26th September.

“The Other Volcano” aims to build a series of semi-domesticated volcanoes, to be housed for a couple of weeks in the living spaces of volunteers. These designed supra-natural objects will be large, reaching almost to the ceiling, imposing, and extremely inconvenient – erupting dust and gloop into the living rooms of volunteers seemingly at random.

“In order to make myself recognized by the Other, I must risk my own life” said Sartre. The Other Volcano imagines a love-hate relationship, a 'sleeping giant' in the corner of your domestic environment, with the power to provoke excitement with its rumblings, and also perhaps fear (if not for one’s life in this case, then at least for the soft furnishings of one’s clean and neat ‘living’ room). It is a project that domesticates the most violent of natural processes, addressing and reinterpreting different natures. With The Other Volcano I will try to question the domestication of nature for entertainment purposes.

How would you deal with a live volcano in the middle of your living room? Would you try to destroy it? Would you just disconnect it from the mains? Would you be more popular because you share your life with a volcano? Would you invite people to see it, and switch it on at the end of the meal to create a ‘surprising’ effect? How will you feel when you will climb on top of it?

The Other Volcano relates very much to my preoccupation with the juxtaposition of the epic with banal details, the extreme with domestic.


DezeenTV: The Other Volcano by Nelly Ben Hayoun

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Posted on Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 12:17 pm by . See our copyright policy. Before commenting, please read our comments policy.

  • Ogul

    Was it intentional to post this the same day as Mount Merapi is erupting in Indonesia?

  • Bernad

    “How would you deal with a live volcano in the middle of your living room? Would you try to destroy it? Would you just disconnect it from the mains?”

    Actually yeh, I would. Faced with a choice of either burning my house down or not burning my house down….. I would choose not burning my house down every time.

  • Andrew

    In Holland insurance doesn't cover damage done by vulcanic activity. would give it a try otherwise.

    • http://twitter.com/j_kwon_solo @j_kwon_solo

      I can't get Vulcan insurance either and Spock's up in my shit all the time.

  • Goz of Zilla

    It 's weird … Is the building fire-proof ? Hope that the fire on the carpet was a graphic post production

  • student

    "How will you feel when you will climb on top of it?"

    like an idiot.

  • http://www.snowdondesignandcraft.com Alex

    Wow! that looks like fun!

  • fizz

    Would you require it cordoned off in your living room as they seem obliged to do so for public demonstration (no doubt a Health & Safety imperative). If I didn't know any better I would have thought the great Chris Morris was behind this.

  • Tom Ford

    My 5 year old would LOVE IT!

  • numb

    How many devils would come out of that Lord of The Rings prop?