July 2, 2019
Inflating Curiosity with Pneuhaus
An Interview with the Masters of all Things Inflatable
Like all great modern love stories, this one begins in the depths of an Instagram explore page.
It was a photo of these beaming wormhole-esque orbs that stopped us in our thumb-scrolling tracks, and later led to our match-made-in-collaboration-heaven. For years, we had been thinking about inflatable installations – from shipping to durability, it could be the perfect fit for Renegade – but hadn’t found a good partner in the commercial market. When we stumbled across Rhode Island-based design collective and masters of all things inflatable, Pneuhaus, we felt like we struck gold.
We caught up with our Pneuhaus buds about the inspiration and process behind the pieces and feel so, so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with this talented team. Get excited to see the inflatables IRL at our 2019 Fairs!
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Where did you find inspiration for these pieces? What do the shapes represent, if anything?
The inspiration for these shapes came from seeing beauty in simple shapes and how that beauty changes as the scale changes. We like how the scale and shape of the objects have so many different connotations: they can be soft, playful, welcoming, satisfying, or they can be heavy, daunting, overwhelming, massive. Rather than represent something literal, they’re meant to evoke feelings.
And feelings do they evoke! We’ve been struck by how extremely fun these pieces are, while still being technical and beautiful. How are you able to imbue joy in your work? Is that something you keep in mind throughout your process?
Thank you! We have to give a lot of credit to inflatables because they inherently are joyful objects. They are soft, bouncy, lightweight. In our process, we try and keep the forms as simple as possible so that the natural material elements can stand out. We love the aesthetic of the soft shading and smooth curves so we also stay away from hard angles. We strive to create objects that are totally unfamiliar to people’s everyday experience and I think a lot of joy comes out of seeing something completely new, especially when it is inviting.
What was the fabrication process like? What hold-ups, run-ins, and uh-ohs happened along the way?
Making these shapes was pretty straight forward, but the fabrication process was tight since we added these into an already backed-up fabrication schedule. I ended up welding these objects in four days and the last day I finished at about 3 am. Part of what took so long is that we decided to make two of each so that if there were any holes in the air-tight shapes, we would have two options to choose from.
What does the future hold for Pneuhaus? Any cool projects on the horizon?
For the future, we are aiming to work on more public art and place-making projects in both private and public areas. We just finished a project in downtown Providence that will be on our website soon (see below). We have a cool semi-permanent project in the works for an airport and are on the search for similar commissions. But in the meantime we’ll keep experimenting and making things that make people more curious about the world around them.
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The inflatables are part of our “in house” installations that travel to our events and are integral to the distinct feeling we hope to create for Renegade participants and guests alike. We choose our venues because of their uniqueness and beauty, and always seek to enhance that beauty with objects like our silk flags, and now, with the inflatables. We’re always on the lookout for collaborations and commissions like Pneuhaus, so if you have any ideas, we’re all ears!
The warmest thank you to Pneuhaus for being such an awesome collaborator and friend to Renegade. To see more of their work, head to their website here.