FORM on Design: Jamie Wolfond’s Inflatable Floor Fan

Jamie Wolfond’s new Inflatable Floor Fan is a playful twist on the omnipresent waving figures dotting city streets. Image via Jamie Wolfond.

Drive down a busy city street, and you spot them—those brightly colored, inflatable figures waving frantically outside car dealerships and fast food places, beckoning you with deals on loans and pizza. Designer Jamie Wolfond (we profiled him last year) has taken the idea and turned it on its head.

He just introduced an inflatable floor fan, which draws sinking cool air into the base and projects the air upward into the warmer part of the room. Besides circulating cool air, the action means the fan simultaneously inflates itself. The air comes out through side flaps—they also happen to flap in the breeze themselves, making for a piece with even more dynamic movement.

It should come as no surprise that Wolfond has taken a quotidian idea and tweaked it, making it fun and witty, not to mention easy to use. After all, he’s the guy who introduced the world to the Emergency Bench, an ingenious piece of seating furniture that takes a welded hypalon inflatable cylinder and transforms it into a bench via bronze castings and nylon straps.

As with the other pieces he has developed recently, to create the Inflatable Floor Fan he teamed with an unexpected production partner (to make the Emergency Bench, he connected with a whitewater raft company and for a shelving unit, an outfit that manufactures pool cues).  This time it’s Precision Drum, a firm not surprisingly known for its drums, to create the fan’s bentwood base.

A Toronto native, Wolfond has settled in Brooklyn, where he designs and fabricates all of his pieces. The Inflatable Fan has a lead time of about four weeks, so order one soon, before the summer heat descends.

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