From the Collection: 1960–1969

Paolo Lomazzi, Donato D'Urbino, Jonathan De Pas. Blow Inflatable Armchair. 1967 482

PVC plastic, Inflated: 33 x 47 1/8 x 40 1/4" (83.8 x 119.7 x 102.9 cm). Gift of the manufacturer

Juliet Kinchin: We're looking at the Blow Inflatable Armchair designed by De Pas, D'Urbino and Lomazzi, a group of three architect-trained designers in Milan.

This blow chair really became an icon of 1960s Pop, youth-oriented culture. It's an expression of a new, very free, casual kind of lifestyle. It's a design that uses these advances in technology and techniques in such a playful and yet elegant way. And it's about design reaching new audiences and exploiting a new market for affordable furnishings.

It was so light, obviously—the main constituent is air—it was a chair that could be used inside or out. You could take it to the beach. You could kick it around the room. So it was a very different spirit, which critiqued the whole concept of furniture as something solid and bourgeois and bulky, which was designed to last a lifetime. This bulky shape could, of course, be deflated in an instant, and you have a piece of furniture that could literally disappear. This was a more ephemeral, colorful and witty concept of furniture. But actually, if you've ever sat on a plastic surface, particularly in a mini-dress, the plastic would tend to stick to your legs and was not popular as a long-term design solution.

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