idea of filling sofas and armchairs with air has been around for more
than 100 years, but putting the concept into practice has proved a difficult
challenge. Some models were on sale back in the 70s. In those days, however,
they were made of PVC welded together and then inflated to the shape of
the furniture. But the quality was inadequate, the PVC was uncomfortable
and - worst of all - the seams were likely to burst.
The idea of using air was nothing short of a stroke of genius. A construction which would make it possible to sell sofas and armchairs in flat packages bore the promise of enormous savings for manufacturers, retailers, customers and the environment. But the design and the materials were far from perfect. What was needed was a completely new approach.
The industrial designer Mr Jan Dranger has been perfecting his own ideas on this theme for many years, investing a great deal of work in developing materials, adapting production and subjecting his designs to tests for durability, function, fire safety and so on. The aim has always been to create furniture of high quality with little environmental impact, furniture which is suitable for industrial manufacture and can be packed in flat packages.
The breakthrough for the new ideas came in 1993 and resulted in a soft, high-tech material known as olefin plastic, and a manufacturing technique in Sweden. Together these form the trademark SoftAir Technology (pat. pend. int.).
The plastic used is one of the purest there is and it is 100% recyclable. In the event of fire it gives off very little energy, no toxic fumes and only a small amount of smoke.
frame in each item of furniture consists of a number of plastic containers,
or 'air cells', manufactured in an industrial process. These are inflated
using the air from a hair dryer or that discharged from a vacuum cleaner.
Then the appropriate slipcover is turned upside down, the elements are
placed inside and the zip is closed. A sofa can be inflated, assembled
and ready for use within less than half an hour.