Inflatable Furniture Is Blowing Up… Again

What does a beach front ball have in typical with an armchair? Not significantly, till you enter the realm of inflatable furnishings, where by whimsy and novelty abound. Inflatable furniture hasn’t absolutely hit mainstream stores just yet, but there are a range of designers experimenting with the medium. And even though the sector is still quite area of interest, you could currently be a enthusiast if you’ve ever cooled off on a hot summer time working day by floating on a blow-up pool toy.

It’s quite effortless to see the appeal—inflatables are fun, easy to pack, and lend a much desired pop of coloration to a room. When you translate that into the world of layout, the final result is furniture items with the possible to be avant-garde, transportable, and environmentally helpful. It also doesn’t hurt that inflatable home furniture items often appear out seeking like abstracted gummy candies (see this couch).

Inflatables are not a new thought. The first essential inflatables had been made in the ’40s by engineer Walter Chicken just as WW II finished and the Chilly War was about to start off. Bird’s creations were to begin with employed by the armed service to safeguard radar antennae, but in the many years right after the war, he went on to build inflatable storage sheds, pool enclosures, and greenhouses.

By the time the ’60s rolled about and the Place Race took off, cheaply mass-created plastic flooded the current market, which motivated experimental design and style firms and architects to take a look at inflatables as a new inventive medium. Designers like Quasar Khanh captured the breakthrough adventurism of the House Age and created large-principle inflatable gazebos, ottomans, and lamps. By 1967, the to start with inflatable home furniture experienced achieved the mass sector, and the technologies was officially productized.

A set of apparent inflatable household furniture parts from Mojow.

Image: Mojow

Even now, inflatable furniture straddles the realm amongst innovative and misunderstood. A quick look for on Google yields a result of multilingual Pinterest boards, AliExpress products, and one-of-one particular art sculptures with notes to enquire for pricing. This was not constantly the circumstance though—inflatables were way less difficult to occur throughout in the early aughts, primarily if you ever flipped via a dELiA*s catalogue. IKEA even tried out to make inflatable furniture take place two times, but issues with leaking and squeaking plastic intended the products and solutions by no means took off. On best of that, the parts weighed following to practically nothing and experienced a tendency to float around the space, major just one IKEA personnel to explain the collection as “a gathering of swollen hippos.” By the time Lizzie McGuire was previous adequate for high university in 2002, the inflatable home furnishings bubble was deflating into the track record.