The Story of Bubble
As a young boy Eero Aarnio had been fascinated by soap bubbles. In the city he had never made one but fleeing the war to the countryside he remembers blowing huge soap bubbles from a barn. The bubbles would take off with the wind and drift far away to the fields. The image of a field filled with transparent soap bubbles stuck with him.
After the success of the Ball Chair, Eero carried on designing again with a functional aim. Although, a perfect hiding place from the outside world, Eero had found that reading in the Ball was not ideal. There was not enough light inside this cocoon. He had all kinds of ideas on how to let in light inside the Ball Chair including an experiment with a small window. After various efforts, he wondered, could the shell be made of a transparent material?
At first, he draught the shell to consist of two halves, joint together with a seam. He came to the conclusion that it would probably work, but the look would not be what the designer desired. The family had half-round acrylic ceiling windows at their home, and Eero started to wonder, how are they actually made? Eero grabbed the yellow pages and under the occupation listings found a company, which produced ceiling windows. He picked up the phone, called them and simply asked how the windows are made, and if his idea could work. It was possible, acrylic can be heated and blown into shape, just like a soap bubble.
However, Eero faced another problem. With a shell made of acrylic, how would one fasten the shell endurably to the pedestal? The structures would be too complex to work with, and the aesthetics would be completely different. There simply was no nice way to attach the shell to a leg. Finally, he came up with the idea of fixing it to the ceiling. The final sketch was designed in 1968. Now, one won’t run out of light reading in the Bubble, it’s flooding with natural light from all directions.
When it came to the chain, the decision was easy for Eero. A metal chain would by far be the strongest in his eyes. Maybe it reminded him from the boats and the sea again. Presenting the Bubble to Asko Furniture Company, they were very excited from the start. As the Ball Chair had already gained a lot of momentum around the world, the Bubble received high praise by the public as well. Although, presumed later by many, futurism and space-aged design wasn’t the aim this time either, it was all about a new material that was available and piqued the designer’s curiosity.