SUBVERSIVE LUXURY: INSULATION JACKET
This speculative design project aims to create a subversive luxury object with in
depth study of a material on both its characteristics and its history.
This is also an exploration on my obsession on foil insulation.
Nobody values Foil Insulation because it's cheap, it's on everyone's roof, it does
nothing but serving its function. People assume it doesn't have value.
But what people don't know is that Foil Insulation itself is already a subversive
luxury object. In fact, it was developed by and belonged to the most expensive
and luxurious program and organization on the earth.
NASA developed a technique of metal coating to apply a thin, reflective surface
for Echo I Satellite (1960), the first successful communication satellite that reflects
voice, radio and TV signals.
Later they found the metal coating reflect not only communication signals but also
extreme space radiation. It was then made into insulation and widely employed in
the Apollo Program to shield the space crafts, equipments and astronauts. After
then, nearly every NASA mission employs this reflective insulation barrier.
Sci-fi movies that involves spacecrafts also pick up the tradition. These factors
explains why when we think of spaceships, space station and astronaut, we
directly think about the shiny, sliver, reflective material.
So if it's so NASA and so luxury, then
HOW THE HELL DID IT END UP ON OUR ROOF?
Apparently NASA is so grand and generous to share their technology.
But what they actually means is:
"WE ARE BROKE SO WE SELL OUR TECHNOLOGY."
So at the end, this project is to re-establish value into reflective insulation, by
making it into a hybrid product that crosses between space suits and high-end
The diamond stitching pattern applied on the insulation is to:
1. Make it flexible, balance the stiffness and the softness of the insulation.
2. Reference the pattern in luxury insulated jackets and upholstered furnitures.
Photography: Yijie Li
Lighting: Crystal Ren