Pneumatics' Touch - Beginnings

Pneumatics' Touch - Beginnings
More on ProcessMore on Outcome


Wondrous Pneumatics

The wonders of pneumatics lies in its ability to afford a variety of transformative effects with a single simple mechanism -  enabling a membrane to stand as a body of its own, but also able to create a scaffold of skeletal structures. Air, a readily available yet seemingly intangible material, when visualised through pneumatics, has the potential to afford a variety of functions.

Despite its potential for flexible use by varying the inflated air, most pneumatic objects are viewed and used as binary. Moreover, conventional mass production techniques has resulted in limitation of aesthetics with pneumatic products.


Initial Explorations

Being new to pneumatic behaviours, it was challenging to understand how it worked merely by reading up about it. With every mistake made, making was helpful in learning as I sought to find interesting phenomena.

The experiments were mostly conducted with a TPU coated polyester weave textile.

Compiled initial explorations


No items found.


Ideating through making

All tryouts were evaluated for its potential. Familiarity of the material helped provided greater control in the making. To some extend, the "appearance" or "aesthetic" of the effect, and how interesting it was, was a key determinant of its potential utility and function. As such, the material shapes the outcome, rather than having a pre-conceived outcome.

Narrowing Directions

No items found.

Form/Function Follows Material?

1. The furling up upon inflation resembled the sleeve of a shirt, that simultaneously served as a decorative element.

2. Most inflated inflatables distort and shrink in surface area, resulting in tightness and constriction around the object. The pleating technique allows for expansion, which counters inflatable object’s propensity to shrink or distort in one direction.

Design Direction

Hence, it seemed suitable as a thermal insulation wear. Tapping on its advantages, 3 key criteria was set for the design of a thermal wear:

1. Adaptability to users and environment’s needs and kept compact when not in use.

2. Enables mobility and flexibility, non-restrictive to movements.

3. Affords inflation via a single valve with a single continuous chamber that caters to thermal insulation for limbs.

*This effect was created by pleating textiles using a common handheld, single point heat-sealer.

Iterations & Refinements

No items found.

Final Outcome