Digital manufacturing, recycled plastic and air: Air Supply, a design research by the Kiel Muthesius University investigates the use of air to reduce environmental impact

Air Supply is a good title in times of crisis. He was chosen by the 17 students of the Muthesius University for the arts and design of Kiel in Germany for their research on the topic of inflatable.

But let's not talk about inflatable furniture a little pop like it was done in the seventies. The cultural climate has changed, design rather than having fun seeks solutions for urgent problems.

A different aesthetic attitude, evident in the projects carried out during the workshop directed by the industrial design professor Martin Postler and the graduate Benjamin Unterluggauer, who had the idea of ​​challenging students to 'build with air' using recycled plastic sheets welded with CNC machines.

Benjamin Unterluggauer dealt with inflatable objects during his residency at the Hamburger Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (MKG), and proposed the theme to students who have developed a range of consumer products such as clothing, suitcases and lamps.

A simple and fast, economical and flexible process. A design response adapted to the times and the need for low-consumption and low-impact experiments.

Digital manufacturing for research

The projects that come out of the workshop are prototypes, not products. There is no ambition to arrive at something decisive or even to shyly look out over the doors of the serial industry.

It is the work of a group of students, done with seriousness and a good dose of visionary passion, with an eye to the conscious use of materials and the construction of a very simple and easily recoverable exhibition project.

Air Supply was one of the most curious and interesting research events in the Alcova panorama during FuoriSalone 2022. And it has shown, if anything were needed, that in times of revolution it is right to pursue ideas and projects that are composed, linear and easily readable.

Inflatable in times of crisis

Returning to the theme, that of air, it was said that we are far from the joy and color of that pop design that we liked so much a few decades ago.

We liked it because it was the non plus ultra formal of freedom and irony: the real engines of a design that on the one hand played and loved to do so, and on the other provoked.

Air Supply is again a kind of game, but with different rules. A bit like saying: let's do those who save more material. Or let's do those who better use numerical control machines to build real functional objects from top to bottom.

Nothing better than air for a design that, at least symbolically, leaves no traces.

Who are the 17 students of Muthesius

Hansol Kim, Jesse Jacobsen, Paul Meyer, Karl Sperhake, Jannick Steffen, Bent Bischoff, Gunnar Kähler, Tjard Tensfeld, Julius Bahl, Arista Meier, Ben Wesch, Friederike Haeuser, Christa Carstensen, Greta Lola Lauk, Christin Grossmann, Jonas Bendlin and Lotta Kunft are the 17 students of Muthesius who have developed ten projects, some individual and some collective, produced with digital manufacturing techniques.

From the LED lamp wrapped in two air cushions and suspended on straps by Christa Carstensen and Friederik Haeuser, to the transparent suitcase and the lighting wall wrapped in air cushions. Up to the inflatable stool and the air cushion chair mounted on an aluminum structure.