Is it a balloon? Is it a light? No, it is a balloon light! Showcased in this year’s Salone del Mobile, a German graduate designer by the name of Theo Möller, has designed what can termed as inflatable lighting.
Christened aptly as the ‘Blow Lamp’, the lighting component basically comprises of a tube made from polyethylene, which is lined inside with LED strips. This tube-like structure can be inflated by pushing air into the ‘elastic’ form via a special valve situated at one end. Quite conveniently, the valve gets closed by itself due to the air pressure inside the tube, thus resulting in a luminous balloon-like contrivance.
Now the question might be asked – what was the inspiration behind such a novel conception? Well, the answer is equally whimsical from the designer, as he confesses that his design aim was more romantic in nature, with the goal being to create a flying lamp. However the heat from the LEDs was unfortunately not feasible enough for flight.
Consequently, the creator opted for PE (polyethylene) barrier film with aluminium coating, which made the lamps airtight and firm. In fact, the tubes are made from multiple sheets of PE that were affixed to each other in a secure manner with the advanced pulse welding technique. The end results entailed tubes that were manufactured to lengths of up to 4 m (with just 600 g of weight).
The LEDs on the other hand, are fitted into a very slim tunnel-like space which resides on the translucent bottom section of the tube. This section is detachable, thus traversing the requirement of safety standards in lighting solutions.
Now, beyond the structural attributes, it is evolved degree of usability of the Blow Lamp that really makes it special. The lightweight tubes can be attached to metallic stands as floor lamps, or they can also be suspended in air (like balloons) by tethering them with a nylon cord. And, if you want to carry them from one place to another, simplly insert a straw into the aforementioned valve to draw out the confined air.
In relation to the latter case of portability, the Blow Lamp is still in its prototype stage. However, the designer is hopefully looking forth to its mass production with advantage of low cost being the definitive commercial factor.