In 1968 the iconic Italian furniture brand Zanotta collaborated with architects De Pas, D’Urbino and Lomazzi to create a pneumatic pavillion at Eurodomus in Turin which followed in the footsteps of Blow, their first inflatable armchair. During the 1960s and 70s Jonathan De Pas, Donato D’Urbino and Paolo Lomazzi developed a specific interest in creating furniture and temporary architecture with industrially advanced materials and technology. It was a time of highly innovative experiments with new materials and processes developed by many companies, including Swiss group Bayer, who were leading a new industrial revolution and knew that design was the most visible ways of demonstrating this.
In 1967 the pneumatic trend had taken the architects to the World Expo in Osaka where the trio had built their first transparent building and filled it with Zanotta products, including their famous Blow inflatable armchair. Blow is also the first mass-produced chair that had mass appeal and represents a time of huge shifts in politics and a return to social values.
The following article by Costantino Corsini was published in Domus magazine in the same year. It's a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at pneumatic design and the designers and manufacturers who captured the imagination of the public worldwide.
Man managed to fly for the first time clinging to a balloon. For centuries, he studied and experimented with complicated flying machines, perfect mechanisms that cost many a life of study, observations and life itself. Then the situation changed: a membrane, hot air and up into the sky. Air solved a problem as old as the world. Today we solve many of our problems with air; just think of car tires, and even if there is no real Science of the Inflatable, our interest is clear in this ever-expanding technique that contributes to changing and improving our lives.
Even in architecture and urbanism, the studies and examples of pneumatic applications do not fail to fascinate us with their science fiction connotations. Read on