Inflatable Architecture Being Exhibited

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CasaBubbleWhen you think about inflatables, your mind probably immediately thinks of beach balls, snow tubes and even inflatable slides. You might think about some custom inflatables you saw recently at a tradeshow event or one of those blimps that drops prizes at arena sports games. However, you will probably not think about inflatable architecture, like the type being exhibited at an arts and design show being held in Los Angeles.

A piece in the Los Angeles Times discusses an exhibition at the Dwell on Design show – an exhibition that features the CasaBubble, which is basically an inflatable guest room for your backyard. Designed by British company AirClad, this installation is a jump forward in inflatable structures:

“CasaBubble…is a sphere that holds its shape with air blown by quiet turbines, which use less than 100 watts of electricity per hour to run — roughly the equivalent of a light bulb. The sphere is fully pressurized in as little as 15 minutes, and the air inside is refreshed as often as seven times per hour, preventing humidity and condensation from clouding the bubble. The design has two doors, but only one can be open at a time or the structure will collapse.”

The bubble can be used for a number of purposes, the article says, citing a children’s play area, pop-up shelter and the aforementioned outdoor guest room. It weighs a mere 53 to 190 pounds, making it relatively portable. CasaBubble can withstand winds upwards of 40 mph and is made of clear, UV-treated PVC to resist discoloration. Apparently, this type of inflatable architecture has been around for a while:

“Bubbletecture, as it’s known, has been around since at least the 1960s and early ’70s, when the Ant Farm and Jersey Devil design practices created temporary art installations. The fad went as quickly as it came, only to be reimagined in the late ’90s as a possible solution to homelessness: Exhaust from buildings’ heating and air conditioning units was used to inflate temporary housing.”

A new 32 foot long pool house design will debut at Dwell on Design.