Soon after completing their inflatable RGBubble pavilion on the Brown University campus, Rhode Island-based design collective Pneuhaus unveiled their Bubble Dome made up of hundreds of TPU balls. The team, led by three friends who graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, makes inflatable, temporary architecture that pushes the limits of geodesic constructions – and their newest design might be their best work to date.
The designers ordered hundreds of TPU balls from Alibaba and used a thousand feet of hand-sewn nylon webbing to support the components. Each ball was partially inflated, placed into the webbing and then inflated to full pressure. Each segment was then attached to its neighbor and the entire structure started emerging without any external pressure or support. The reflections of the individual balls pass through the other elements and create a fractal effect.
The design is reminiscent of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic domes, but takes the concept further by using lightweight materials and an intricate design – the production of which was enabled by the use of Rhino models and other modern software.