Blow lamps by Theo Möller
inflate like balloons


Milan 2014: these LED lamps by German graduate designer Theo Möller blow up like balloons to create inflatable lighting.

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.

Blow lamps by Theo Möller

"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.

Blow lamps by Theo Möller

"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.

Blow lamps by Theo Möller

"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.

Blow lamps by Theo Möller

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.

Blow lamps by Theo Möller
The four-metre inflatable pendant lamp rolled up

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."

Blow lamps by Theo Möller
Material samples

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.

The Blow lamps were exhibited at both the Light + Building exhibition in Frankfurt and the Salone Internazionale del Mobile furniture fair in Milan earlier this month.

  • justsayin

    Similar to this design, also by a German designer:

    This was designed in 2007 or so.

    • dontjustsay

      The only thing they have in common is that they contain air and light. Otherwise they are two completely different projects, each with their own merit.

      People need to stop commenting on how projects are similar to others unless they ACTUALLY cross the line of plagiarism. All you do when posting comments like this is discourage people from developing good ideas from current good ones, which is all one can EVER actually do.

      Creativity is repurposing forms and concepts you have previously seen. The first chair was just the first man-made stump or stone.

      • touchedsorespot

        Why so angry? Nothing in the comment accused anybody of anything. That is something you brought up.

        Just a link to something that might be interesting to see in connection with this project.

      • cooldown

        Actually, in my opinion the basic idea is exactly the same. Designing a cheap to produce led product that could be sold flat from the roll, based on air cushions used for packaging. They both also designed a lamp with it to show its potential.

        Whether one idea inspired the other is not up to me to decide, but it is good to know what is out there when patenting an idea for example. So nothing wrong with posting that link.

  • k.l.

    I thought word got around even among designers that LEDs need proper cooling to last for some time. Heat sinks and such. Now if the designer did a little bit of research, he would have found that there are film-like materials that can spread and dissipate heat even better than copper. But plastic film is certainly not it.

  • merryman

    I love (inflatable) lamp.

  • Piet

    Similar to the LED Zeppelin lamp by Bertjan Pot.

    • yam

      The prize for the better name definitely goes to the LED Zeppelin here.

  • coolasacucumberbud

    Wasn’t angry, just don’t see the point of pointing that out for any other reason than “flexing” your design radar or pointing out possible plagiarism.

    I don’t know about you but as a designer one of the least favoured comments in person or online is your projects similarity to another. This is welcomed information if your project is unbeknownst to you plagiarising another. But we could sit here all day and point out chairs with 4 legs, tables with pedestals instead of four legs and so on.

    There is no way that this designer didn’t Google inflatable lamp during their design process. so why ruin their hurrah?

    • yourproject

      “and point out chairs with 4 legs”

      Seriously? As if LEDs inside air cushions are an integral part of most lamps.
      I cannot see a comment here attacking this project. So why are you so defensive about it?

  • Design Guy

    Very, very clever design. LED’s are making the impossible happen in so many industries.