Once cooled, some metals become superconducting and can make magnets levitate. Designers have imagined with the help of physicists how to stage this levitation, now and in the future. Some devices were built for live experiments. Others were imagined assuing superconductivity no longer required the cold. Here are ten design projects, ten new visions of superconductivity presented in 2011 in particular for the year of superconductivity.

See all projects


When cooled at very low temperatures, some materials become superconductors. They conduct electricity perfectly and make magnets levitate. This levitation is peculiar since once in levitation, the magnet « sticks » to the superconductor, even down !


In 2011, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of superconductivity, l’Ecole Nationale Superieure de Création Industrielle, Ensci-Les Ateliers, proposed to a group of students to work on these superconductors in a partnairship with physicists from CNRS and Université Paris Sud. Together, they tried to answer these two questions :

– How can show superconductivity to a large public in a new pedagogical way ?
– In the futur, what new usages could one imagine if researchers are able to invent superconductors at ambiant temperature ?


Four monts of experiments, of liquid nitrogen at -320°F, of quantum physics intense debates, discussions, thinking, and design led the students to propose ten projects. Ten new visions for superconductivity, for today and tomorrow.



The SupraDesign project is a partnership between the ENSCI-Les Ateliers and physicists from Université Paris Sud and CNRS on the occasion of the Year of Superconductivity Supra2011 organized by the Institut de Physique of the CNRS.
It was supported by la Mairie de Paris, Nexans, ans Universcience.


Atelier formes & matières, Ensci-Les ateliers : François Azambourg, Clémentine Chambon, Véronica Rodriguez, Noémie Lesartre (consultante technique), Laurent Milon (consultant vidéo)


Caroline Burzynski, Samuel Bernier, Irène Caputo, Alexandre Echasseriau, Li Yun, Charlie Zehnlé, Udi Rimon, Abdel Malek Bumellil, Marion Gros, Delphine Mériaux, Piotr Widelka, Anne-Laure Weill, Elsa Tarrago


The exhibition

Scénographie par Millimètre (Delphine Meriaux, Laurent Milon, Baptiste Viala, Charlie Zehnlé)
Espace des Sciences Pierre-Gilles-de-Gennes, à l’ESPCI ParisTech : Matteo Merzagora, Elodie Francillette


Communication et coordination of Supra2011
Insititut de physique du CNRS (Julien Bobroff, Catherine Dematteis, Jean-Michel Courty, Karine Penalba)


Thanks to Frédéric Bouquet (LPS), Brigitte Leridon (ESPCI), Jérôme Lesueur (ESPCI), Sylvain Gilat, Michel Lagues (ESPCI), Richard Emmanuel Eastes (ESPGG), Fabrice Esnault, Ane Arbellini (ESPGG), Denis Laville (ENSCI), Sebastien Lamouret (Le Laboratoire), Catherine Dematteis, Jean-Michel Courty, Karine Penalba (INP CNRS)