For the leisurely, obscenely wealthy set, it seems that finding new, increasingly provocative ways to get around is a hot trend of late. Not only are they planning expeditions to space via Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic venture, but add to that this conceptual design from Tiago Barros which imagines a cloud-shaped blimp of sorts that aimlessly roams the skies, traversing the globe without destination or objective. Perfect for those of us that have nothing to do except, well, float on a cloud.
Called “Passing Cloud,” the project offers an alternative to our hyper-connected networked-to-everything lifestyles. The white spherical cluster design looks less like a series of clouds than it does some omnipotent, bulbous alien spaceship or spore, or perhaps a deformed, flying whale. It’s made of heavyweight nylon fabric covering a steel infrastructure that, get this, is only propelled by wind. It simply hangs in the air, waiting for a gentle breeze to come along and push it on its way—surely an environmentally friendly way to travel, if a bit impractical for those of us who have, say, a job or a life to get back to eventually.
Aside from that fundamental design flaw, there’s also the issue of safety precautions—as in, there don’t appear to be any. The design renderings have people hanging outside on its surface while the big white beasts floats through the sky. Sure, it offers a new way to experience our world by separating ourselves from it and that’s all well and all until some mischief maker decided to toss objects from it Koopa-style, or better yet, some genius gets too close to the edge, or maybe that friendly gust of wind suddenly isn’t so friendly anymore.
Still, there is something beautiful in this idea that appeals to our sense of fantasy and whimsy. We tend to get so caught up in the rat race of life that too often we ignore the more majestic aspects of our natural world. The more connected we become to everything, the more important it will be to disconnect ourselves, to take a step back and go surfing through the clouds—or at the very least, find a grassy knoll and stare up at them, steeped in a daydream.