Build Your Own Festive Balloon Archway | Make:

I’ve traveled around the world creating art with a very unusual medium. I fold air in specially prepared latex containers. That’s right: balloons. At Airigami, we don’t deal with tiny balloon doggies, or even a few balloons forming hats, but massive artistic installations involving up to 100,000 balloons. The same basic twists used to make the standard balloon dog are used for these creations. But with endeavors this large come countless engineering challenges, from forming rigid structures out of light-weight and flexible materials, to constructing safe rigging that will support hundreds of pounds worth of balloons, to calculating gas usage and airflow requirements of inflation equipment. What’s more, the unusual shapes balloons come in make the challenges even greater. Traditional approaches to building don’t necessarily apply when, instead of bricks and 2x4s, your smallest elements are shaped as spheres, rounded-cylinders, and mouse heads. In the movie Raising Arizona, Evelle poses the question, “These blow up into funny shapes and all?” The answer is, “Well, no … unless round is funny.” Indeed, all balloons are funny-shaped when considering their use as a building material.

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