Working With Safe and Licensed Inflatables Companies

We have long discussed the regulations regarding inflatables safety in various states across the country. More and more lawmakers are looking into regulating the industry to make inflatables as safe as they are fun.  There are a number of reasons for this – however, the primary push for these measures is for overall safety of the people using inflatable bounce houses and obstacle courses at parties. When you look at some of the recent news involving inflatables, it’s easy to see why this regulation might not be a bad idea.

According to the Ventura County Star, a Wichita inflatables company is facing some serious allegations regarding licensing and safety issues:

“A man who operates a Wichita inflatables company where a child died faces a third charge of running the business without proper licensing. The Wichita Eagle reported Tuesday that the misdemeanor charge against Jesse Zogleman stems from a sting operation. Police allege Zogleman entered into a contract with an undercover detective in July to operate rides in Wichita.”

Zogleman’s companies, Moonwalks for Fun and Pure Entertainment, have allegedly been involved in many illegal activities involving the sale and rental of inflatables, the article says. A number of the issues stem from the death of a 5-year-old who fell off an inflatable at Moonwalks for Fun. This fatality was a catalyst for major regulatory shifts in Wichita which revoked inflatable licensing to Zogleman – however, this wasn’t enough to stop his operation:

“Earlier this year, two criminal complaints were filed against him. One allegation involves an offer to provide inflatables to Heartspring Inc, which serves children with special needs. The other alleges he entered into a contract to provide and operate inflatables for the Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.”

Before you rent or buy an inflatable, make sure you are working with a licensed inflatables company that has the proper permits your area requires. Furthermore, be aware of the safety measures being taken by the company you choose to work with. This story in Kansas is the perfect example of what can go wrong.

Trampoline Bridge Developed in Paris

Despite a number of innovations in physics and technology, the basic design of bridges has remained relatively static, with very few changes. Of course we know that bridges currently being developed are stronger and more aesthetically pleasing than those that came before them, yet the basic essence of a bridge has not been altered radically at all. That is, until now. According to an article from Designboom, a new installation in Paris, France, has taken the basic bridge and flipped it on its head.

The new bridge, currently just a concept, would be installed above the River Seine in the city, but what makes it different is that you travel across it by bouncing across it. It’s being called Trampoline Bridge and would be installed on custom inflatable modules:

“Installed near the Bir-Hakeim Bridge, the conception is formed out of inflatable modules, like giant life-preservers, 30 meters in diameter. In the central part of each ring, a trampoline mesh is stretched. The floating buoys, fabricated in PVC membrane, are attached together by cord to form a stable and self-supporting ensemble.”

The three buoys, the article says, are each filled with 3700 cubic meters (more than 130k cubic feet) and can be adapted to fit into larger or smaller installations. The inflatable Trampoline Bridge was developed by an architecture firm as part of a competition to design a new bridge for Paris. As part of its concept, the article says the firm has lofty artistic goals:

“…locat[ing] an architectural reflection within the realm of contemporary urban enjoyment. By noting that the notion of happiness is often linked to nature they recognize that human beings remain nostalgic for and imaginative of a state of primal happiness, of ancestral times when body and spirit were essentially free.”

Whether or not a bridge like this will ever be designed is unclear – however, it’s safe to say we’d rather bounce across the river instead of walking!

 

Town Dealing with Inflatable Issues

The practice of using inflatables to draw attention to a business or tradeshow booth is a tried and true method of marketing. Customized and branded inflatables are eye-catching representations of a business logo or mascot – they can bring a lot of foot traffic and visual appeal to a brick-and-mortar or temporary storefront. However, one business in the Medina Township area of Ohio is facing pushback from town authorities and some citizens.

We have covered this issue before – it has been going on since 2008 – and it seems that no headway has been made regarding the township’s statutes aimed at prohibiting inflatables. Although inflatables are allowed at private residences, businesses cannot use them as a means to draw attention. According to an article from cleveland.com, this hasn’t stopped some businesses:No Inflatables

“Bill Doraty, owner of Bill Doraty KIA, has been championing the cause since 2008. Nonetheless, Doraty and other local merchants have used the large balloons to draw attention to their businesses, drawing citations and criminal charges along the way.”

A number of court cases have been filed by Doraty and the manufacturer of the inflatables, the article says, but each ended with verdicts supporting the township. That is, until a separate case found in favor of the plaintiffs. It  turns out that the township’s sign permits should be enough to approve inflatable usage at businesses:

“[The judge] ruled [that] the zoning department must issue permits for the display of inflatables, stating that inflatables are designed not to move and therefore are not restricted by the zoning code.  At that time, Michael Todd, chairman of the board of trustees, said: ‘We respect the decision of the court and will abide accordingly. As long as temporary sign permits are issued, he can keep displaying the inflatables.’”

Currently lawmakers in Medina Township are working on a proposal to continue this practice or make inflatables allowable, but with restrictions. No word on a final decision has been released yet.

Inflatable Stonehenge Creator Makes Luminariums

LuminariumsWhen it comes to inflatables, it seems like the sky is the limit in terms of what can be created. If you think about standard inflatables, you might only see inflatable tubes for water or snow or maybe just a plain bounce house at a backyard party you went to once. While these are certainly more prominent in the world, more and more sculptures are being made with inflatables, showcasing the flexibility of this medium.One example of this is brand new project by Alan Parkinson, the man behind the inflatable clouds at the Olympics and inflatable Stonehenge, both of which have been written about in this blog. His company – Architects of Air – recently created a stunning showcase of inflatable wonder, something he is calling a “luminarium.” The Huffington Post had this to say:

“Parkinson and his company Architects of Air, have built six different luminariums in various shapes and sizes that are currently touring the world.”Miracoco,” which is currently on display at Evergreen Garden in Wuhan, China for the “UK Now” festival. The center dome of the sculpture is the largest Parkinson has built so far, which, as you can see, was certainly a challenge for his design team.”

On the Architects of Air website, the luminaria are described as mazes that blend elements from various world architecture, namely Gothic cathedrals. These inflatables have a number of elements, including ‘winding paths’ and ‘soaring domes’ that work within each original design. The real stunner about these creations is their size:

“The domes are the large chambers rising up to 10 metres high that provide the focal points. The tunnels connect the domes and determine the journey the visitor will take. Each luminarium is made up of around 20 elements that are zipped together on site to typically occupy an area of 1000 square metres.”

Each luminarium only takes 20 minutes to inflate.