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Inflatable Igloo Dining

Winter dining in a warm igloo with constant air circulation.

Photo of Mike Elliott
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Idea Title

Bridging the gap in Chicago’s patio season.

Company / organization name (if applicable)


Website (if applicable)


Please include a visual representation of your concept, including but not limited to images, diagrams, or 2D / 3D graphics

The inflatable “igloo” is readily available online in various designs. I chose this style because of the 360 degree view and ease of installation and low cost.

Solution Overview

The inflatable “igloo” provides a low cost dining option that is affordable for sole proprietor restaurant owners with minimal outdoor space currently being used this summer. Sidewalks, patios and private parking lots can accommodate the igloo dining option. It will easily meet the fresh air circulation requirements because by design air is forced in and releases on the opposite end. At night it can be deflated, folded and stored indoors.


The inflatable “Igloo” is readily available through online retailers. Restaurant, bar and cafe owners could purchase these in September and have them available for our gloomy November weather. The igloos can be placed side by side with very little space between to maximize the seating capacity. Rain, snow and wind will not effect the igloo. 

Technical Overview

The igloos can be side by side and do not require a 6’ separation to maximize seating capacity as long as the vents are arranged away from the neighboring igloo ventilation intakes. They are fully water/snow proof and the spherical design makes it deal for wind resistance. Electric radiator heaters would be needed in conditions below 50 degree range but the igloo by design will provide solar gain in sunny conditions. The dome would also trap some of the warmth from the guests.


It is a low cost solution that will provide a level playing field for all business owners. Easily available from online retailers or possible purchased in built through a City grant.


I did not invent the inflatable tent “igloo” and can’t provide any prototypes. The restaurant, bar or cafe owners will have the flexibility to purchase and arrange them in the most ideal layout that fits their unique outdoor space.

User Research

I did not invent the inflatable tent “igloo” and therefore I did not do any testing.

Covid-19 Safety

The “igloo” provides separation between tables. Fresh air is constantly passing through the dining area. The igloo surface can easily be sprayed between reservations. Servers will provide the food in the doorway entry space per the costumers request.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Michael Elliott, Licensed Professional Engineer in the State of IL. I specialize in land planning and development.

Please describe your legal or organizational structure

Tax paying homeowner in the City of Chicago.

In what city are you / your team located?

City of Chicago

In what country are you / your team located?


How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • City of Chicago website/social media


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