Having created a jacket and a sweater from Pneumatics' Touch, the project was selected for an incubation programme under NUS Division of Industrial Design, Design Incubation Centre. The programme was a year long.
Taking an approach where clothing goes beyond human-wear, the project launched into further explorations on how air could be utilised as clothing for objects, furniture and spaces. It retains the spirit of thinking through making, while engaging some other traditional means of Industrial Design - such as Computer Aided 3D Design and Rapid Prototyping.
While wanting to expand the collection using the existing research and knowledge that I had, it was challenging to recalibrate the mind to view the project with fresh eyes especially when I've worked on it for over a year and eventually designed two pneumatic wear. Hence, it was important to un-learn with the approach of making, look out for details that have been overlooked, and discover surprises about the method.
1. Air are conventionally used for padding and cushioning (eg. bubble wrap). Aside from being a decorative element in bags, it could provide utility by being a form of clothing for objects that are fragile and/or expensive or precious (like a laptop).
2. Air trapped close to the body is capable of retaining heat from the body. The air pockets ensures performance of thermal insulation as it prevents air from being displaced and circulated (mixing hot and cool air). How else can thermal insulation be applied aside from being worn by the body?
3. The sheer quality of air filled textile has the potential to diffuse light, creating textures and surfaces that can diffuse lighting. With lights and shadows being a major component of space, what if this textile were to be worn by structures or scaffolds to interact with light?
The role of textiles and clothing can not apply to a mere human body, but also objects and spaces in the environment. Breaking down the qualities of the material effects while exploring the concept of "clothing" beyond fashion, other possibilities with the found effect and textiles are imagined.
A seat or a chair is a quotidian object that we interface with often. The comfort of the chair is frequently enhanced by its upholstery, which in some sense, can be considered the “clothing” of the chair. Wingback chairs are cocooning in colder environments, shielding its user from drafts in the environment while providing insulation with the thick paddings.
Soundproofing is typically done using mass to contain/block sound. Moreover, they are typically permanent and lack flexibility for configuration. This extension of Pneumatics’ Touch explores the duality of air - simultaneously as a transmitter and refractor of sound. Combined with the given textile and discovered effect, it has great potential to be applied as a soundproofing partition.
As a night lamp, this component seeks to explore and push the limits of the pneumatic textile to take interesting forms as a lighting fixture simply through the use of air as an intervention.
This was honestly the most challenging part. As each component requires structures/skeleton, finding the right form for the structure while working with the textile to ensure they dialogue well together was complex. Setting criteria for the structures then became helpful - that they had to look naked without the textile. Additionally for the chair, it also had to be able to exist alone without the textile. Most form finding was done on 3D CAD Software, and building a few potential ones with PVC to visualise the scale and test ergonomics (some featured below).