Le virus de la pneumanie

Collected Items 05.02.12

This week’s Lens focuses on the reactionary and the ephemeral via an excerpt from C & P Fiell’s introduction to their fantastic monograph Plastic Dreams: Synthetic Visions in Design.  The photo below links to Pneumatic Design another gem of an article from the Domus magazine archives.

Bernard Quentin Pneumatic Forms

The early 1960s also saw another new design phenomenon related to the increasing availability of plastics: infalatables made of heat-welded polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In 1963, the French artist and designer Bernard Quentin created an installation entitled Le Salon d’Avril de l’An 2104, at the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris, which incorporated the Cybule: a blow-up and ‘breathing’ seating sculpture with a molecular inspiration.  He subsequently exhibited an inflatable chair at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and in 1966 his first range of inflatable chairs was put into production by Adamoli of Milan.  Around this time, numerous other designers – including Verner Panton and Nguyen Manh Khan’h (Quasar Khan) – also caught what the French news magazine, Le Nouvel Observateur, described as ‘le virus de la pneumanie’ (‘the inflatable disease’), and produced an array of designs for inflatable furniture.  In Domus magazine Costantino Corsini suggested that, ‘pneumatics are now being applied to furnishing and furniture, as designers are attracted to the possibility of ephemeral solutions that satisfy the negation of lasting meanings.’

Charlotte & Peter Fiell, ‘Introduction: The Plastic Age of Psychedelic Pop’ in Plastic Dreams (London: Fiell, 2009) p. 24

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