The strangest items that have been vacuum packed, ever

When someone mentions vacuum packing, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Most of us associate vacuum packing with clothing, pre-cooked food or travel supplies.

While vacuum packing is a great way to pack and store frozen food or slim down all of your clothes before a big trip, there are many other uses for vacuum storage, not all of which are completely – how shall we put it – sane.

From bizarre vacuum-packed runway models to convenient, space-saving vacuum packed mattresses, read on to discover the five strangest items that have ever been vacuum packed.

Iris Van Herpen’s vacuum packed runway models

It takes plenty of weird taste to become Lady Gaga’s favourite fashion designer – a title that Dutch designer Iris Van Herpen wears with pride. The 30-year-old fashion designer turned heads at the latest Paris Fashion Week by vacuum packing some of her models into giant plastic hanging bags.

Curled up and connected to oxygen tubes, Van Herpen’s models looked like unusual alien specimens. Van Herpen claimed that the idea to vacuum pack her models was part of the creative vision of her Biopiracy collection, and that the provocative way of presenting her collection made “the model a product”.

Thought provoking social commentary or bizarre fashion collection – whatever the goal of Iris Van Herpen’s vacuum-packed runway models might have been, it didn’t fail to turn heads.

The Dorel vacuum-packed transportable mattress

Most mattresses are big, heavy and difficult to transport. American company Dorel has found a unique way to reduce their shipping costs while delivering high quality mattresses to customers. Instead of packing their mattresses in a large square box, they vacuum pack them and roll them up for quick and simple storage.

Vacuum packing lets the company cut down its mattress dimensions to a tiny size, allowing its mattresses to squeeze into tiny spaces inside a delivery truck. Many of the company’s customers mistakenly think they’ve ordered an air mattress when a package that’s impossibly small arrives on their doorstep.

Want to see the Dorel vacuum-packed mattress in action? Watch as an eight-inch pocket coil twin mattress expands from a tiny rolled-up form to a normal scale in minutes.

Haruhiko Kawaguchi’s vacuum-packed photography

Tokyo artist Haruhiko Kawaguchi doesn’t think vacuum packing should be limited to clothing and frozen food. The photographer has made vacuum packing a focus of his work and, as part of his latest “Flesh Love” project, has started vacuum packing his models before he starts shooting.

Unlike Iris Van Herpen, who connects her models to oxygen tubes before their live performances, Kawaguchi takes a slightly more risky approach: he seals his models without air for 10-20 seconds, quickly snaps as many photos as he can, then quickly cuts them out of the vacuum packaging.

Kawaguchi’s models aren’t professionals, but everyday Tokyo couples interested in preserving their love through vacuum packing and modern art. Kawaguchi claims that the 100x150x74 cm plastic bags used in his work are designed to “keep love fresh forever.”

Dr Kurk Mikat’s bizarre vacuum-packed coffin

Equal parts bizarre and creepy, a Florida doctor called Kurk Mikat has patented an interesting system to vacuum pack human remains in a special coffin that prevents them from decomposing. The idea is that you’ll look as good on your 500th birthday as you did on your 80th, and it’s… well, more than a little strange.

Profiled in a Vice article earlier this year, the system is reportedly designed to stop embalming chemicals like formaldehyde seeping into their environment – a major environmental concern in Florida. Despite the good intentions, this use of vacuum packing seems a little too creepy to support.

Haven Gastropub’s vacuum-packed watermelon

It’s square, compressed and visually identical to delicious tuna sashimi. California gastropub Haven compresses slices of watermelon in an industrial vacuum packer for use in its fruit salad, giving customers maximum flavour in an otherwise small piece of fruit.

Although the gastropub uses an industrial-grade vacuum packer to squeeze every last drop of flavour into its fruit salad, you can do the same at home using a simple home packaging system. Try it with watermelon, pineapple or any other fruit for a huge increase in flavour and a unique, conversation-starting look.