Blow Armchair by De Pas, D'Urbino & Lomazzi for Zanotta

In furniture design, few creations have been as innovative and playful as the Blow inflatable armchair. The designers De Pas, D’Urbino, Lomazzi, and Scolari developed this iconic piece for Zanotta in 1966.

A Bold Statement Piece From the Sixties

The Blow armchair stands as a lasting aesthetic statement from the 1960s. The design was the first successful inflatable one. However, the first furniture of this kind was available in Denmark as early as 1961. Moreover, the whimsical and curvy shape of the Blow was inspired by Bibendum, the advertising character created by Michelin in the 19th century. On the other hand, its technology was a pure product of the 20th century.

Blow Inflatable Armchair by Zanotta

A Collaboration Born Out of Unconventional Thinking

The armchair resulted from the first collaboration put into production by the DDL Studio, founded by De Pas, D’Urbino, and Lomazzi in 1966 in Milan. The studio focused on urban development and industrial design. All the designers shared an unconventional attitude towards their craft. In the sixties, mass production and the emergence of new materials gave birth to a cultural trend towards prefabrication and consumer products.

Zanotta Blow Inflatable Armchair

The Philosophy Behind the Blow Armchair

DDL aimed to design simple and inexpensive objects for a fresh, alternative, young lifestyle. The company was also committed to material experimentation and drew inspiration from “pneumatic architecture” installations. The studio approached practical furnishings with designs permeated with irony and lightness, characteristics the Blow inflatable armchair reflected.

Blow Armchair by DDL for Zanotta

The Blow Armchair: Technical Specifications

The Blow armchair is easy to inflate and deflate at home. It represents a milestone in furniture design, forever abandoning the traditional concepts of high costs and durability. DDL designed the Blow chair to be versatile and suitable for indoor and outdoor settings. However, its inflatable plastic wasn’t very practical during summer days, reducing its usefulness.

Constructed from electronically welded PVC, this armchair has 1100 x 950 x 830h cm dimensions.

Its lifespan was presumed short, as it was easily damaged, so much so that it was supplied with a repair kit, and the low price was a confirmation of this. It was initially produced in various shades in transparent or opaque versions and reissued in 1988 in only transparent crystal color.

Zanotta Blow Armchair Vintage Box

The Impact on Zanotta

When launched on the market, it gave Zanotta great publicity. De Pas D’Urbino and Lomazzi also collaborated with Zanotta on furniture like the Sciangai coat rack, the Settebello modular system, and the Onda sofa. Furthermore, Zanotta has also worked with other esteemed designers, including the legendary duo Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. Their shared vision resulted in iconic pieces that have stood the test of time. Additionally, Zanotta has partnered with design luminaries such as Ettore Sottsass, Gae Aulenti, and Joe Colombo, further solidifying their reputation as a leading force in contemporary furniture.

Through these fruitful collaborations, Zanotta has continuously pushed the boundaries of design, bringing forth unique pieces that resonate with discerning individuals who appreciate the perfect blend of aesthetics and functionality.

Blow Inflatable Armchair by Zanotta Vintage Advertising

Continuing the Legacy

The Blow armchair continues to be a significant part of DDL’s legacy and is still produced today by Zanotta. Its playful design and lightweight material make it a popular choice for modern, minimalist living spaces. It has also inspired other designers to create similar inflatable furniture pieces, expanding on the concept introduced by De Pas D’Urbino and Lomazzi. Today, several museums around the world display Blow.

In today’s world, where sustainability and affordability are becoming increasingly important in furniture design, the Blow armchair remains a pioneer in its field. Its easily inflated and deflated ability allows easy transportation and storage, making it an ideal choice for those who move frequently or have limited living space. 

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