The imagination of John H Locke and his design partner Joaquin Reyes, has given birth to the Inflato Dumpster, a project designed to hack the urban experience by providing a meeting point for the masses, to be educated or educate.
There is a current obsession regarding what’s to be done with mundane street structures. The fact that they are viewed in a perpetually bad light is what has drawn Locke and Reyes to turn the banal and ugly into a unique environment. They want to “hack” and rewrite these structures into mini urban arenas. Therefore, in said project we see the humble dumpster transformed into an open and temporary public space, playing host to a wide range of activities.
Whilst looking admittedly freakish from the outside, the Inflato Dumpster cannot help but generate attention from passersby. After peaking inside, they are then transported to a whole new, 165sqm environment. The “hot-air balloon” structure is made from a combination of two materials. An inexpensive, biodegradable plastic is used for the majority of the design, providing protection from the elements whilst being translucent to let in light. A foil, which is found in emergency blankets for hikers etc., is woven in the form of triangular panels into the structure, where it transforms the space into a light-reflecting, golden oasis.
The public is at the focus of the project; documentary screenings have been held, bands have played, there has even been a model-making workshop which used consumer grade 3D printers. Inflato Dumpster provides the public with a tool, this tool gives them a means to express feelings and communicate by enabling direct interaction with individuals inhabiting the vicinity.
Locke considers the whole thing a success. He says the most exciting thing is seeing kids, students, the elderly, drunks, lifelong and newly-arrived residents become curious about their environment and engaging with it. The transformation of a lowly dumpster has proven that whilst urban life can seem too complicated to influence, it is in fact pretty easy to jump into the thick of it.