SUPPORT MODULES 2017 Ecodesign prizes

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It is as true that innovation is not without some risk as it is that the presentation of design awards must have a certain component of innovation.

The Barcelona design studio of Morgui-Sunico has had the courage and the imagination to combine these two premises and to give them shape.

For the past 9 years, the Department of Territory and Sustainability of the Government of Catalonia (the Generalitat), together with the Catalan Waste Agency, have been organising the Catalonia Ecodesign Awards. Under this umbrella, the initiatives of companies and designers that best combine the concepts of design and sustainability are honoured. In order to give visibility to the winners, a touring exhibition is organised to display the details of each one of the prize-winning initiatives.

For this exhibition, the Ferran Morgui studio and his team were given two premises on which to organise the exhibition for the prize-winning projects:

  • Environmental vision and reusability of the exhibition media and
  • Modular adaptability to the various spaces where the exhibition will be held.

The idea and the solution:

For this they were inspired by the bales/bundles of plastic that are piled high in recycling plants. These bales, often of different colours, are compacted and bound to give them a shape that allows them to be stacked and handled with ease.

The inflatable modules have been designed based on this iconic image, one that perfectly meets the initial design brief and which manages to fill the exhibition space in an elegant and exceptionally original way. The modules have been arranged in two sizes that visually indicate the winner and the finalists and with a colour code that identifies each of the five competition categories.

The inflatable modules are made using airtight technology (they do not require a motor to stay inflated) and are stabilised using a wooden base. The straps of different colours that “tie” each of the volumes serve to control the typical deformation of an inflatable and also visually codify the 5 categories of awards.

The first staging of this exhibition was seen in the Palau Robert exhibition hall in Barcelona from 20th October to 19th November.

REPLICA OF A GIANT INFLATABLE BREAST

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A giant breast in the middle of a London street? Yes, it’s as hard to believe as it is that, in 2017, mothers in the United Kingdom feel uncomfortable when they feed their children in public.

This was the reason why women from Mother London carried out this initiative on 26th March (Mother’s Day in England).

With the striking inflatable replica of a giant breast, they sought to raise awareness about breastfeeding in public. According to them, there are still many social stigmas that persist around this activity. At the same time, they carried out other actions, with posters and adverts on social media.

The inflatable replica of the breast, about 6 m high, was built using the continuous air system. This is based on the sewing together of multiple pieces of an airtight fabric. It is inflated by a low pressure electric turbine that keeps it permanently inflated. Finally, it was hand decorated using the airbrushing technique. Obviously, the inflatable replica was anchored securely to the terrace of the building which ensured its resistance to the wind.

  

Undoubtedly, the initiative caught the attention of passers-by in the London borough of Shoreditch, who rushed to share photos across all the social networks.

THE PACIFIC MARQUEE THE NEW MODEL FOR 2017

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It’s true that we don’t like getting bored, nor do we always like doing the same thing. Therefore, each season we present a new model of one of our families of inflatables.

A new model may be the result of a request from a client or a proposal from our design department. Sometimes a mix of both. The fact is that periodically we force ourselves to bring out a new product.

On this occasion, we present a new model of an inflatable marquee. Thus, a few months ago, the pacific became one more in our collection of standard marquees.

“Pacific marquee”

As always, it responds to the usual brief required for events: easy to assemble, an original design and easy to customise. We manufacture this model in 3 different sizes: 15 m2, 30 m2 and 60 m2.

Uses:

The uses of each of these inflatable marquee somewhat depends on the size. The small one is more suitable as a reception point or for sales of merchandise. The other two are more appropriate for accommodating sale, promotion or product exhibition activities.
Innovation:

The constructive innovation of this new model is that the three sizes are designed to be joined together via the doors. In this way, if the event requires it, compact groups of 2, 3 or more marquees can be formed.

INFLATABLE TENTS TO BUILD HOMES ON MARS

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When astronauts land on Mars, they’ll have to stay there for months rather than days, unlike the lunar missions. The surface of Mars suffers from extreme temperatures and its atmosphere does not offer an adequate protection from the high levels of radiation waves coming from the cosmos. Such explorers will need efficient protection from that harsh Martian environment and somewhere safe to call home.

The idea:

Based on a study published by NASA at the end of 2016, it was concluded that the best solution for a home for when these astronauts reach Mars would be domes or ice cupolas.

This conclusion is based on the fact that an ice shell would be a perfect filter to protect astronauts from the adverse atmospheric conditions of the red planet. The water lying beneath the surface of Mars is an easily available resource, so the main building material would not have to be transported from Earth.

Construction system:

The construction system would be based on a large, double membrane inflatable dome or roof. The tent would be inflated on the surface of Mars and its cells filled with water. Finally, the water in each cell would freeze under atmospheric conditions.

The inflatable dome, thanks to the excellent weight-volume ratio, could be built on Earth and easily transported to Mars.

Another important consideration noted by the technicians who designed these domes is that the translucency of the icy surface would give excellent natural diffuse lighting to the interior space.

LE DÔME THE FIRST INFLATABLE SILENT DISCO.

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Discos and silence are two seemingly antagonistic concepts. It is difficult to imagine a group of young people, on a Saturday night, dancing to the latest tunes in a disco where complete silence reigns.

The concept created by the two partners of “Le Dôme” clears up the confusion. It is a roaming inflatable nightclub in which each person listens to the music through wireless earphones that are handed out at the entrance of the venue. Eureka! A great idea with a lot of plus points.

Advantages of the concept:

The inflatable venue can be assembled in the centre of a city, with the obvious advantage being proximity, without this causing any noise disturbance for the neighbours.

The system allows clubbers to choose between 3 types of music that they can change at will.

One last aspect that the creators wanted to be one of the key aspects of their initiative is that only soft or low-alcohol drinks are served in this space. Mathias and Dominique, the two partners of “Le Dôme”, have conceived this space as a place to have a good time dancing or chatting without having to go home completely drunk.

All these advantages mean that the authorities that are offered this facility are delighted to receive it. At last, they think, “a space for night-time leisure activities that won’t have the neighbours protesting to us about the noise…”

Design and accessories:

The idea is completed by a very cool designer interior area with predominating whites and brushstrokes of corporate salmon and black. All very elegant.

The decoration of the space is complemented by four other inflatable pieces: seats, a bar, a DJ stand and an entrance arch shaped like an earphone.

 

Technical information about the inflatable:

Interior surface area: 240 m2

Power requirements: 2.40 Kw

Assembly: 6 people / 6 hours

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SPACES OF COLOUR AND LIGHT. ARCHITECTS OF AIR

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If I had to give a quick definition of the inflatable structures created by Architects of Air (AoA), I would say that they are inflatable spaces of colour and light. They are spaces searching for an experience full of sensations unique to those experienced in another, non-inflatable medium.

“A sanctuary of the senses”

Alan Parkinson, the creator of these incredible spaces, began to experiment with inflatables in the 80’s. As has happened to many of us who build these types of structures, one day he had to get inside the guts of an inflatable for a reason unknown to me, or for simple curiosity. Undoubtedly, he experienced the incredible sensation one gets when going inside an inflatable structure. The outside light is filtered by the fabrics’ colours from which the inflatable is made, in turn, bathing the interior with these colours.

According to Parkinson himself, this experience was that which motivated him to explore more in this realm until 1992, when he founded a company that would develop and commercialise these structures.

AoA’s inflatables have travelled through 41 countries across the 5 continents and through them, 3 million people have had the opportunity to feel was Parkinson discovered years ago.

The more than 20 models that they have built since the first “Luminary” — the name with which they baptised the original model — are constructed from high tensile PVC fabric and with a special treatment that offers more transparency than materials with similar characteristics. These structures cover surfaces some 1,000 m2 in size and are completely accessible inside. They are inflated through high flow turbines and one can enter inside through a tunnel with a double door.

 

FLOWER TIME. NATALIA SERRA Y DIANA RODRIGUEZ.

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Temps de flors (Flower Time) is an exhibition celebrated since 1955 in the city of Girona’s old town. This exhibition, in its beginnings, was based solely on the display of natural flowers in various forms according to the season. With time, and especially during the past 25 years, multiple contemporary art displays have been incorporated, in which the natural flower is one of many decorative resources utilised.

In the ambit of the 62nd edition of said exhibition, we have had the opportunity to collaborate with Natalia Serra and Diana Rodríguez in their project, “Unnamed Flower.”

The project is a poetic allegory that symbolises the ephemeral nature of a flower’s life, from birth through death, based on a poem by Agustí Bartra.

“You have little time, small flower, from birth until splendour and withering. Your earthly journey is brief. Do you have a name? Maybe. I prefer to think that the botanist ignored you. You are the flower. You are the unnamed flower, daughter of chance and of the Earth, a tenderness maintained by the heavens.”

Diana and Natalia have interpreted the poem through an inflatable flower 5 metres in height, emerging from a recycling container, and that, thanks to an inflator and timer, will follow the allegoric inflation-deflation cycle at a rhythm of 1 and 3 minutes, perfectly symbolizing the author’s poetic ideal.

Technically, we have constructed the designed that Natalia Serra and Diana Rodriguez proposed to us, scrupulously respecting the dimensions, volume and colour texture. We have provided the technology, materials and experience so that the inflation-deflation cycle was done properly.

Links:

https://www.nsbarquitecta.com/

INSPIRATION INFLATABLE ART – V

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JEFF KOONS: SEATED BALLERINA

We know Jeff Koons for balloon dog, the sculpture of a dog made from stainless steel that looks like an inflatable mylar balloon. This work, which was created in 1994, is Koons’ most iconic piece and the one that sold for the highest price at auction ($58.8 million at Christie’s), although his first forays into the world of inflatables date back to his first artistic works at the end of the 70’s. In his first works, the artist made direct use of inflatable toys as conceptual elements of the works themselves and derived from these to work towards the monumental pieces he created in the 90’s.

From 12 May until 2 June, spectators will be able to see the latest piece from the Pennsylvania-born artist, which has been set up in front of the entrance to the Rockerfeller Center in New York. The work is being presented by the Art Production Fund and Kiehl’s Since 1851 and is being sponsored by Tishman Speyer.

This time, Koons has approached the sculpture from a completely different angle than the one he used for sculptures like ballon dog, titi, ballon swan and ballon rabbit. Instead of the stainless steel sculpture having the appearance of an inflatable balloon, he has taken a porcelain figurine from early 20th century Russia and transformed it into a monumental inflatable sculpture that is 14 metres high. The sculpture is part of his “antiquity” series and is the third incarnation of the piece. the first being made of polychrome wood, and the second from brushed stainless steel.

With the seated ballerina series, Koons wants to create a contemporary version of the mythical goddess Venus, who symbolises the notion of beauty which, on this occasion, also plays with the “mirror” effect so that passers-by can see their reflections in her.

As Koons himself says:

“The aspect of reflectivity emulates life’s energy; it’s about contemplation and what it means to be a human being. It’s a very hopeful piece

This is the second “true” inflatable Koons has created in his career. The last one was a giant replica of his balloon rabbit which was exhibited during New York’s Thanksgiving Parade in 2007.

   

In terms of construction, the sculpture is made from mirror-effect nylon fabric and is painted with transparent inks. Partly sewn and partly soldered, the sculpture is inflated using a 1,100 W electrical turbine concealed in the base pedestal.

 

INSPIRATION INFLATABLE ART – IV

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WILLYAM FORSYTHE – SCATTERED CROWD

I am increasingly interested in the works which some artists or professionals do outside their natural environment, especially in the artistic territory.

We tend to think that specialization is an added value in a professional and we forget that the perspective and the freshness with which someone can approach a project in a new field  can be precisely the superlative value of the project.

William Forsythe has an education as a dancer and choreographer and has a successful career; his aesthetic and artistic criterion is undoubted according to the multiple acknowledgements he has received. A criterion and a talent which have allowed him to be involved in artistic projects like ”Scattered Crowd”.

It is about a labyrinth formed by thousands of inflatable balloons of different sizes and opacities, hanging in the air and accompanied by music chosen for the occasion. All this is done to completely involve the public in the facility. As the same Forsythe explains, the intention is to force the public to interact with the place to the point that balloons, people and music are part of the same artistic work.

The inflatable balloons location requires the effort to go dodging balloons as you go through the place and involves the five senses. Each person, apart from interacting with the balloons, must interact with the other people who are visiting the facility and who are also dodging balloons.

If you ever have the opportunity of visiting this place, leave your mobile phone in your pocket, tune in your ears and, above all, do not burst any balloon!!

 

Links:

http://www.williamforsythe.de/installations.html?no_cache=1&detail=1&uid=22

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV70LwHQVw4

http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2012/11/scattered-crowd-thousands-of-white-balloons-suspended-by-william-forsythe/

20 YEARS OF MAGICAL MOMENTS

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Perhaps the magnitude that measures time seems different today than in 1997. There is a feeling that twenty years ago we used to measure time in days or hours and now we do it in minutes or seconds, although, without a doubt, this greatness is static and untouchable. What has been changing throughout these two decades is the point of view from which we see things and the way we perceive them. However, that is something natural because we are evolving. What surprises me the most is that, even though I see things from another perspective than when we started this adventure, I haven’t stopped experiencing a magical moment every time we inflate a new product.

Àrea Cúbica’s history began in March twenty years ago in a small town north of Barcelona when an engineer changed his mechanic attire for those of an air couturier. An old sewing machine, a PC-286, 50 m2 rented premises and tonnes of excitement were the ingredients with which we started this adventure.

Why the inflatables? I think there is a mixture of three components that have been Àrea Cúbica’s engine during all our adventurous tour: engineering, creativity and the ‘’magical moment’’.

Engineering defines that part of the project which has not been solved. It’s the technical challenge we must overcome if we want to make the inflatable that we are asked for. This part implies making a constant effort to find fabrics with more benefits, a profession to solve new ways of pattern designing and bravery to try what has not been made before.

Creativity refers to the most artistic part of the product. It’s the component that pushes us to make with this seam, to choose that fabric finish or to change the pattern design one thousand times until it has this ‘something’ that makes it different.

And finally, the ‘magical moment’. It is pure emotion, beyond the other two components. Every time we finish a product, we live the process of inflation as the birth of something new. It’s a feeling, a tingling, that has remained unchanged from that first inflatable pet we made to the inflatable bubble tent we have recently developed together with one of the most prestigious architect studios in the world.