He didn't know it at the time, but when Doron Gazit discovered twisty balloons while working as a camp counselor at a Jewish summer camp in Texas, it was the start of something big.
Most Americans know the twisty as the elongated latex balloons used to make poodle-like dogs or hats for children at fairs, circuses and birthday parties, but for an Israeli like Gazit, the twisty was something entirely new. He brought back as many as he could to Israel and began selling them on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street. He would soon begin huffing and puffing his way to bigger and better things.
The twisties served as his inspiration for creating artwork out of large colorful air tubes made from a stronger plastic and supporting them with heavy duty high pressure blowers. Today, he produces tunnels, canopies and decorations galore using the tubes and highlights, air sculptures that inflate to specific shapes.
Gazit ended up in Los Angeles when he was hired to decorate the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. He soon set up Air Dimensional Design in Burbank, decorating everything from bar mitzvahs to restaurant openings to awards shows. Air tubes have blown Gazit and Air Dimensional Design around the world, too. Since the 1984 Olympic Games, the company has decorated venues as varied as Osaka's Kansai Airport, the Long Beach Convention Center and a salt lake in Mexicali.
Despite its grandiose possibilities, Gazit emphasizes that air tubes and highlights aren't just for big-budget corporate events and can be used in any environment, he says.
"What can be done with colorful inflatables is like magic," he said. "There's no other medium with which you can create big designs so quickly and inexpensively." -- Lisa Hirschmann, Contributing Writer
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