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Like so many things, it seemed like a good idea at the time: In the 1990s, IKEA came up with a smart idea for a flat-pack sofa—make it inflatable! So in 1997, it launched the Innerlig sofa and Rolig easy chair, both part of a series called A.I.R. (Air Is a Resource), which consumers could inflate using a hair dryer before adding a cloth cover. 

IKEA’s first attempt at inflatable furniture in 1997. Courtesy of IKEA

Immediately, reviews were lackluster. The weightless pieces bounced around store shelves, the valve leaked, and even when the furniture stayed inflated, the plastic would make unflattering sounds. All in all, it was an epic fail.

So why, at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan, would the brand launch another piece that uses air for its shape? Well, according to Philip Dilé, product design developer at IKEA, the company has learned a lot since its ill-fated attempt in the ‘90s. “It was one of our famous mistakes,” he says. “We did a lot of fine-tuning to get this asymmetrical shape, and we’re using new materials and construction.” 

The Brännbroll inflatable chair debuts in September. Courtesy of IKEA

For one, the new iteration, a doughnut-shaped chair that’s part of IKEA’s Brännbroll collection, isn’t made from plastic. Instead it’s constructed with TPU, a synthetic rubber that is much more durable and less susceptible to leaks. Plus this version comes with its own pump, so you won’t need to reach for your Dyson to inflate it. And best of all, it’s delightfully flat-pack, just as the original designers had intended. 

Courtesy of IKEA

The chair launches in September, comes in bright orange and green, and is meant for gaming, but we’d love to see it in a kid’s room or living area on family movie night. And when you want it out of sight, you can simply deflate it and pack it away.