Inflatable Picnic Baskets

There will be a time in the future when we will have to reinterpret the fables and folktales we have known for thousands of years, taking away renewed lessons relative to the context of the future. How will the stories transform? Unable to relate to the moral rules of the present or past, we might have to rewrite some of them. The two picnic baskets are imagined and fabricated as satirical responses to the rewriting of The Ant & The Grasshopper, one of the millenia-old stories from Aesop’s Fables, as a love story.

Completion: 12 May 2022
Duration: 3 weeks

Aesop’s Fable: The Ant & The Grasshopper
The original story of The Ant & The Grasshopper is simple. The ant spends the summer collecting grains while the grasshopper makes music. When winter comes, the grasshopper has no food stored. Hungry, it goes to the ant to beg for a bite, but the ant refuses saying “Making music were you? Now Dance!”. The story ends with these italicized words “There is a time for work and a time for play.”

What If It Was A Love Story?
In this utopian version, the fable reads a love story of the ant and the grasshopper. Both creatures embrace their roles, the ant performs acts of service and manual labor to show her love, while the grasshopper brings joy and motivation through music. The mutual admiration and respect as they fulfill their roles without question or shame, showcases the interdependence and transactionality that is inherent to the human experience.

Inflatable Picnic Baskets
A picnic is an event where a prepared meal is shared among friends, but what happens when this leisure activity becomes a rubric for human interdependence? Two picnic ‘baskets’ are crafted to tell the story of the ant and the grasshopper. Stripping away the anthropomorphization from the fable, the characters and the clear plastic baskets assume dead-pan personas in the middle of a crowded park. 

The harmonious give and take between two creatures resulting in a successful transaction. A meal is prepared by one and enjoyed by another without the two overlapping.

The Ant 
The Grasshopper
The giver prepares the picnic under the hot sun

The taker drinks comfortably from the prepared meal

Water replaces the air in the vessel

100 ways of sitting explored

The drink is manually mixed by shaking the seat

At the end of the meal, the basket is deflated, destroyed

The portable picnic basket, designed for one person to inflate and use, elevates the absurdity of the opposite situation. Both tasks of inflating and eating are performed simultaneously. This type of singularity is inconvenient and unnatural.

The Ant 
The Grasshopper

Pumping air into the inflatable bowl,
performing the task of the giver

And simultaneously of the taker, eating
milk and cereal from inflated bowl

Inflatable Structures
In the past, inflatables have been subject to numerous speculations. The Inflatable Moment: Pnuematics and Protest in ’68 by Marc Dessauce played a seminal role in introducing the concept of free-floating utopias, using inflatables to inspire grand visions for the future. The book presents inflatable structures and furniture by architect group Utopie. This piece is an attempt at reopening the world to utopian inflatable narratives.

Experimentation with vinyl and mini iron, pattern making, and heat sealing, to create an inflatable cereal bowl and spoon.


Research conducted under the guidance of award-winning designer and architect, Allan Wexler. Author of Absurd Thinking: Between Art and Design.

Works Cited:

Aesop, Barnes-Murphy, Frances, and Rowan Barnes-Murphy. The Fables of Aesop. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books, 1994.

Bilis, Madeline. “A New Exhibit Explores Inflatable Structures in Architecture.” Boston Magazine, May 1, 2017.

Dessauce, Marc. The Inflatable Moment: Pnuematics and Protest in '68. Princeton Architectural Press. 1999.

Gibbens, Sarah. “See the Festive Tradition of Picnics in India.” Photography, May 4, 2021.

Topham, Sean. Blowup: Inflatable Art, Architecture and Design. Munich: Prestel, 2002.