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Inflatables Were Trending Even Before It Became Preferable to Live in a Bubble

Well, this is weird. We started noticing inflatables as a trend last year — first in Milan, with Space Caviar‘s exhibition design at Nilufar Depot, which suspended new furniture pieces in bubbles above the gallery floor; then in Misha Kahn’s exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art and Studio Swine’s installation for Instagram at Design Miami. Things came to a head at the end of February, when Objects of Common Interest opened Standing Stones, a solo exhibition at the Adam Design Museum in Brussels, in which they cast primitive forms from Cycladic civilization in translucent inflatable plastic. (The exhibition is on through September, so hopefully the museum will reopen sometime between now and then!) At the time, we connected the inflatables trend to the broader idea of escape, which we wrote about earlier this year in our 2020 forecast. Now, of course, the idea of living in an actual bubble seems painfully prescient and on the nose at best, and like a dystopian fantasy at worst (although this video of a photographer who wooed his new girlfriend in a giant bumper ball is pretty great). Nevertheless, check out some of our favorite recent examples below!

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Standing Stones by Objects of Common Interest at the ADAM museum in Brussels

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FAR (After Oase n.7) by Space Caviar at Nilufar Depot

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Seungjin Yang at The Future Perfect

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Harikrishnan’s inflatable trousers

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Misha Kahn‘s room for Speechless at the Dallas Museum of Art

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Studio Swine’s installation for Instagram at Design Miami

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The Environment Bubble by François Dallegret, François Perrin, and Dimitri Chamblas