Pneuhaus turns inflatable seats into self-defence tools

The design studio with a new version of its Street Seats hopes to itigate dangers and tensions between police and students during pro-Palestine protests at US universities.

The Rhode Island-based design studio Pneuhaus has repurposed a series of outdoor inflatable seats it previously created into non-violent self-defense devices to defuse potentially dangerous situations for students participating in current pro-Palestine protests at US universities. The idea stems from a reinterpretation of the "Street Seats," inflatable tubes designed to bring cheer and playfulness to public spaces, which can absorb the force of thrown objects. Handles have been added to the back, similar to those found on portable punching bags, and velcro has been placed on the sides to connect them to build walls.

The studio stated: “We quickly realized that the techniques used in Street Seats could be adapted to a smaller modular unit that could serve as seating most of the time, but be used as a shield when things escalated. The material is so durable it would take a sharp metal blade to cut, which we hope the police are smart enough not to wield in these chaotic situations. […] Inflatables are fun and immediately change the atmosphere when we install them in a place, hopefully these pieces we are sending out will only be used as seats, but it will be interesting to see if their softness can de-escalate a situation in the field.”

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