Book review: blowUp: Inflatable Art, Architecture and Design

7blowup.jpgThe book of the day is Blow-up: Inflatable Art, Architecture and Design by Sean Topham (USAUK).

I’m a fan of anything inflatable so this book is pure bliss. It starts with the blunt statement “Most inflatable design is rubbish.” However the author proceeds by demonstrating that despite its cheapness and sometimes tackiness, inflatable technology has the potential to create monumental and daring structures (such as Archigram’s Blow-Out village or Nick Grimshaw’s National Space Centre in Leicester), sleek art, memorable cinema moments or creative fashion (inflatable design hasn’t convinced me yet). The historical chapters got me hooked. There’s the story of dirigible balloons of course but I also discovered gems such as the use during WWII of inflatable rubber tanks and aircraft placed in realistic looking “camps” to deceive the ennemy. The most moving revelation for me was undoubtedly Mr. Blowup.

What amazes me is that inflatable architecture, design and fashion have been around for decades now but we never cease to find it spectacular.

I had decided that the format for the “Book category” would be two words about the book and a presentation of a project i discovered in it. I’ve already given too many examples of great findings. Here’s a last one, both for the pretty picture and because it’s by Philippe Parreno, an artist i like a lot. He took part to two wonderful projects: Hybrid muscle and Ann Lee. His contribution to inflatable art is Speech Bubbles and i guess the work doesn’t need my comment ;-)