meat balloons by ODL on display in the storefront window of japan premium beef

at the japan premium beef storefront, chicago-based design studio ODL (object design league) have created a meat-themed installation of their ‘balloon factory’, with balloons that take the form of sausages and steak cuts. the installation was curated by sight unseen as part of the NoHo design district during new york design week.

‘balloon factory’ was originally designed in 2011 as a performative assembly line (covered by designboom here). the ODL team creates their own balloon formers, which are primed with soap before being dipped into latex. the thin coat of rubber that adheres to the surface becomes the actual balloon. while it is still wet, latex colours can be mixed or the balloon can be hand-painted to achieve various visual effects. once dry the rubber is leached and vulcanized to be strengthened for inflating. in all, each balloon takes about three hours to produce.

the meat balloons at japan premium beef are shaped like sausages and different cuts of steak: porterhouse, flank, filet mignon, and T-bone. all use an initial clear latex, dripped with red, pink, and brown. steven haulenbeek, caroline linder, michael savona, and lisa smith of ODL left some pieces on butcher trays in the store window, while others they inflated, tied with twine, and twisted together to hang.

ODL explains: ‘this iteration extends the original ‘balloon factory’ project and carries a strong reference to the intricate fake food prevalent in restaurant windows in japan.‘

a limited edition run of 40 meat balloons are available for sale at the ODL web shop.

meat balloons by ODL full view of the tray of meat balloons

meat balloons by ODL detail image © designboom

meat balloons by ODL additional installation view

meat balloons by ODL the meat balloons drying on their formers

meat balloons by ODL detail view

meat balloons by ODL additional detail

meat balloons by ODL tying the sausages after inflation

meat balloons by ODL slight variations in colour– more exaggerated for the steak cuts– are achieved by varying latex intensities and colours while the balloons are drying

meat balloons by ODL

meat balloons by ODL

meat balloons by ODL view of hanging sausage balloon installation, through store window (left) and from within the shop (right)

video clip of tying the sausage balloons for the windowfront installation

meat balloons by ODL early prototypes