Designs in Air artists Pete Hamilton and Luke Egan have been creating original inflatable works of art for almost 20 years.
Pete began making inflatable sculptures following an experiment with a hair dryer in his clothing and screen printing studio in 1994. His 12 pointed inflatable star, now seen all over the world and copied by many, was the first of his designs that he mass produced and they became an over-night success in the emerging dance scene of the time. His new style of inflatables, pure in form yet small in size were some of the first to be used as event and show decoration. They took the world by storm and paved the way for many more spiky designs. The name Pete chose for his phenomenon was Star Virus.
Two years later, working in the same studio space in Bristol, Luke Egan, a mixed media artist was attracted to Pete's exuberant designs and the versatility of the inflatable medium. Having had previous experience with textiles he quickly grasped the fundamentals of inflatable design.
The artists began collaborating on projects, experimenting with shape, form and function. Whereas most inflatable structures at the time were figurative, used for cartoon-like advertising or for bouncing on, Pete and Luke's sculptures were objects of abstract beauty. As time passed their pieces became bigger and more diverse and began to infiltrate festivals and outdoor events with a range of rentable sculptures to choose from. The company became known as Inflatable Systems.
After many years of experimentation, pattern making on paper and card, using maths, geometry and a steady hand, the designers finally began to use digital technology. The use of 3D design software was a powerful tool allowing the artists to create much more complex designs.
Designs in Air was formed in 2005 with the duo still at the helm and with a highly skilled, dedicated team of seamstresses, technicians and riggers. Their passion for bringing a bit of pzazz to events continues with their evolving collection of sculptures and innovative lighting systems that have been admired on the seven continents.
The company is now known around the world for its quality of service and original artistic approach, having provided commissions as diverse as giant pop-up publicity stunts for Greenpeace, touring stage sets for Cirque du Soleil and a life-size sperm whale covered in a thousand twinkling star-lights paraded at the Paralympic opening ceremony of London 2012.
The pair somehow find time for a little street-art here and there under the monikers of Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas and also are about to release an exciting new music making sculpture called Musii - Multi-Sensory Interactive Inflatable.