South Winston USA
Burning Man, Nevada USA
South Winston is a Venture Capitalist firm based in New York. With a focus on emerging technologies and humanitarian philanthropy, South Winston looks to invest in infant startups within these areas and help develop them into viable businesses.
South Winston contacted Giant Inflatables in 2014 to help them develop an idea they were working on. They were looking to create rapidly deployable and highly mobile inflatable structures that could be the basis for various applications.
Once developed for recreational applications, the design needed to be easily adapted for commercial and humanitarian applications such as emergency shelters.
The inflatable “Dhome” needed to be completely autonomous in the same way an RV would be while providing a larger area than an RV from a smaller package.
The final design for the Dhome was a modular, easily transportable package that could be erected quickly in any environment.
The design features a solid core that houses all facilities, including toilet, sink, power, cooking, air conditioning and inflation. The inflatable structure would expand from this stable core, creating the living or working areas on each side.
The iconic ‘spider leg’ design of the Dhome was not simply an aesthetic addition but served a practical purpose as well. Spread between the legs is a shade to cover large sections of the inflatable, reducing the energy use of the inflatable and allowing for more efficient power usage.
The Dhome was developed over five months leading up to Burning Man 2014.
Three prototype structures were developed during this process to test different design aspects. Firstly the solid core was created, followed by the central dome volume, then the sealed air entrance and “spider legs”.
A new type of “airlock” was developed during the design process, which allowed for a single valve-like entrance rather than a typical double-door airlock. This new entrance became known as the” lips” and saved much space on the inside of the structure compared to traditional airlock types.
The Dhome was rolled out at Burning Man in 2014 to test its efficacy over two weeks in harsh, off-grid desert conditions. With South Winston happy with the performance at burning man, the Dhome was subsequently developed into a ‘production’ version, of which six units were tested at the following burning man in 2015.
Future versions of the Dhome are also in the works featuring different layouts of the technology for other use cases.
The Dhome Emergency Shelter is ideal for temporary housing, glamping, outdoor festivals exhibitions, and military and medical sectors.
A closer look
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