In Paris, the city where the barricade originated, a new type of inflatable blockade was invented during the United Nations Climate Change Summit. The term barricade is derived from the French barrique meaning barrel. The first of these were barrels rolled out into 16th century streets, filled with cobblestones and secured with metal chains.

Designed by Tools for Action, the inflatable barricades are a playful take on this historic method. Individual inflatable cubes (shaped like huge cobblestones) can be discretely transported in bags, and in less than two minutes, inflated and attached together forming a makeshift barrier that hinders sight and movement. However, they can be more than just walls— when the cubes are thrown into the air, the street is transformed into a spontaneous playground.

During the UN Climate Summit, the inflatable cubes not only helped bring people together, but also broke some of the tension created by the recent events. After a wave of terrorist attacks struck Paris, a state of emergency was declared. The right to gather and politically demonstrate was suspended for three months, conveniently spanning the duration of the UN Summit.

As part of an act of civil disobedience by over 10,000 people on 12 December 2015, the inflatable barricades were used to block the road leading up the Arc de Triomphe. Dubbed Red Lines are Not for Crossing, this act called attention to the need for drastic and immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and a recognition of the historical responsibilities of industrialised countries and corporations.

The inflatable cobblestones were fabricated by hundreds of activists mobilising for the climate summit, and some were sent to different locations around the world. The fabrication workshop in the social centre Jardin d'Alice (in Montreuil, Paris) became a gathering space for discussion, skill sharing, people's kitchens, and imagining how these simple tools can be used to draw attention to critical causes.

As an extension of the project, an instruction manual titled Fabriqué À Paris was produced to help spread the idea of creative and alternative forms of protest. The publication features a brief history, a how to guide, and a poster sized image of one action undertaken during the time in Paris.


A collaborative project, working with Tools for Action
Inflatable cobblestones - Mylar insulation foil, double stick tape, 10cm screw cap valve, velcro
Multiples of 1.5m x 1.5m x 1.5m