After spending a few hours in a local bike shop tonight, um-ing and ar-ing over what type of road touring bike I’m going to build…yes, I’m actually giving into gears for the Spring (B-B fixie will still be cycled don’t worry!)…I came across this rather spectacular piece of design by Fynn Freyschmidt. Called ‘pneumatic knit’ as part of his material project proposal On Air, it is a new material with a ‘pneumatic thread as the basis for a new textile of very unique qualities. When deflated it is soft and flexible, while inflated it becomes so structurally strong with meshes so narrow that it could either protect a bicyclists’ head or bond different materials and objects together in one safe knot.’ When I saw the words “knit” and “bike helmet”, I had no idea how safety could possibly be a feature! It’s all down to materials. As Fynn states, ‘the loops compress and cause the structure to harden. Chapeau, as shown below, shows a possible application of the material for bike helmets. When not in use, the helmet can be deflated for easy transportation.’ Inspiration came from how ‘an empty open plastic bottle is easily crushed with bare hands but if it’s closed this becomes almost impossible. Inspired by the idea to strengthen an object not by artificial material and wall thickness but by using pure air as a constructive element, he focussed on the interaction between air and membrane and implicitly the perception of air as a material.’
“Because air is a very exceptional element: It is everywhere, available, 100 percent ecological and it keeps us alive.” – Fynn Freyschmidt
More information on the experimentation and R&D can be read here. He also sees that the design and material can be applied in a medicine context, for example a continuously variable bandage. Another idea is the application for blood pressure gauge where the air ventilation eases the wearing comfort especially for long-term treatment. Furthermore, the material could serve for handling systems in industrial context for lifting and transporting sensitive products.
It was created during his time with the James Dyson Foundation, submitted at “Bayerischer Staatspreis für Nachwuchsdesigner 2014” (Bavarian state award for young designers 2014) and recently, discovered as part of Cologne Design Week 2015, specifically in the international furniture and interiors show IMM Cologne winning 2nd place in the Staged Design Award +Show sponsored by Nordwerk Design.
Pieces of clever, innovative and well, just damn beautiful design like this makes me very happen…and even happier cycling, much like some of the other cycling innovation designs I mentioned here on my blog in November last year. Keep imagining, keep the vision…let’s make our everyday, ALWAYS more interesting.