They came from the moon: the story of inflatable structures

4 years ago by in Inflatable Structures

On first thought, you usually do not connect balloons, airships, and bouncy castles to architecture.

Yet in the 60s they were: The Beatles, Andy Warhol, colored plastic, fluorescent lights and prêt-à -porter: a breath of freedom and unconventionality that is reflected in optical designs in bright colors and in black and white in Pop Art, in the geometry of Paco Rabanne that revolutionized the fashion and furniture industry with a style influenced by lunar science fiction, inspired by the moon landing of 1969.

In this period, young architects and students of architecture sought out dreamlike shapes in the form of bubble structures as a way to criticize the inflexible severity of modernism. While many of these have remained on paper as drawings or ideas, others were created for music festivals and temporary installations. Ant Farm, a radical collective of architects founded in Berkeley, California, published at the time the Inflatocookbook, a guide to the construction and manufacturing of inflatable architecture.

Most of the inflatable structures were habitable, so irrevocably belonging to the realm of architecture. Many have remained on paper, while others were created as experimental environments, containing musical, or artistic performances, a kind of incubator concept of these practices. Easy to build and transport, they were meant to be temporary, economic, and shelter from the rain. The main components, plastic sheets and large fans, were readily available.

In 1988 the artist Michael Rakowitz created ParaSITE, an operation that scoured with irony several critical aspects of society: in fact it was mobile homes for the homeless, custom designed with reclaimed products.

Alexis Rochas, architect and professor at SCI-Arc, created an installation inflatable in 2006 when computers were used to cut the shapes more accurately. Many other famous architects and designers have ventured into creating true masterpieces of air and plastic: Coop Himmelb(l)au, Haus-Ricker-Co, Kengo Kuma, etc.

Temporary structures in fact refer to lightness, transparency, embrace, balance, and peculiarities, all positive concepts! So why not bring all of these things into our daily lives? IBEBI takes hold with the idea of the inflatable structure 2.0: reread the past, we have taken up the challenge to break the monotony and formal rigor, even in business contexts. Thanks to the non-conventional fabrics, the duration of products such as the mobile partition walls is guaranteed. IBEBI inflatable structures are much more than a convenient solution: they are a design choice.

IBEBI thinks about rethinking your space: www.ibebi.it