Shown at Ventura Lambrate as part of Milan design week earlier this month, Theo Möller's Blow lamps are inflated by blowing into a valve at one end of a polyethylene (PE) tube. The valve is forced closed by the air pressure inside the tube, creating an illuminated balloon.
"The idea behind the light BLOW was to design a flying lamp," Möller told Dezeen. "I wanted to use the heat of bulbs to let a lamp fly and ended up with a simple inflatable tube connected with an LED stripe."
Light from LED strips inside the balloons reflects off aluminium coating inside the PE to create an ambient light source.
"The flexible LED stripe fits into a thin tunnel on the translucent bottom foil of the lamp," said Möller. "That means that you can separate the components and do not have the trouble with safety certificates."
To form the tubes, sheets of aluminium-coated PE are fixed together around the edges using pulse welding – a technique that employs magnets and electrical current to fuse the metals together.
"I used these materials because I started working on the flying lamp with emergency blankets to use them as a reflector," Möller said.
"I noticed that my first balloons did not keep the air and I switched over to another foil," he explained. "PE barrier film with aluminium coating made the lamp staple and airtight."
The tubes are available in a range of lengths up to four metres, with this longest version weighing just 600 grams.
The long thin balloons turn into floor or table lamps when attached vertically or horizontally to powder-coated metal stands using magnets hidden inside the tubes.
Alternatively, nylon threads can be used to suspend them from the ceiling so the tubes of light appear to hover in midair.
Rows of balloons are threaded through with a single LED strip to create a wall light option.
The designs ship folded and flat. After installation, the lamps can be deflated by inserting a straw into the valve to let the air out then packed away to be moved elsewhere.
Möller has plans to design different shapes to create a family of inflatable products.
"In this state I am thinking about different forms," he said. "There could be a huge circle and some modules made from connected tubes and many more."
Möller developed the design while studying at the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle, Germany.
It is currently at prototype stage but the designer hopes it can be produced at a low cost once mass manufactured.
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