Apple, Nasa, Buzzfeed & more use this office pod that has been soundproofed with 1000 recycled bottles!

For most of us, it has been one whole year of working from home – congratulations! We have all adapted to the ‘unprecedented’ times in our own innovative ways as we share our homes with other people, pets, and do our best to work from home and not live from home which can be hard sometimes without a physical boundary to separate them. It left all of us wishing for our own office pod or productivity bubble where we can just zone in, something exactly like this Focus Room!

ROOM  is a company creating personal prefabricated home offices for our flexible lifestyle as more people choose to work remotely even as things open up. Each office pod is thoughtfully designed to give you privacy, encourage productivity, and create the psychological boundary between work and home so you can maintain a healthy balance. One of the coolest parts about these office rooms is that each booth’s soundproofing layers are made from 1000 recycled plastic bottles! “From design to delivery, we strive to lessen our impact on the environment. Our products are engineered with recycled materials and replace multiple cycles of construction, minimizing noise and our footprint,” says the team.

The comfortable setups ensure you have a place to zone-in and work without distractions with features that shield and block out noise disturbances. Your private office comes equipped with a desk, accessory rail, and built-in power too. You’ll also receive USB ports at your fingertips to keep your devices charged and the most impressive and efficient feature is the wireless charging integrated into the smart desk. These personal office rooms are shipped in four flat boxes and are sold directly to the user to cut out all the extra costs. ROOM’s rooms are a popular choice with Apple, NASA, Buzzfeed, Reddit, Hulu, Uber and more!

Designer: Room

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This sustainable amenity kit produces clean energy & reduces plastic waste for hotels when composted

All industries are making an effort to pivot and use more sustainable designs in an effort to slow down the climate crisis. We are seeing a boom in material experimentation and exploration, especially to make products that are biodegradable because that encourages a circular economy that works for the planet and the user. Single-use plastic is one of the biggest non-biodegradable contributors to ocean pollution. My biggest pet-peeve is when hotels have each item in their toiletries kit wrapped in plastic – it is so unnecessary and given the turnover of these items, it creates a tonne of waste. The Green Box is an innovative solution that aligns hotel stays with your sustainable lifestyle choices!

It is an amenity kit designed to help hotels to transition to a circular economy and avoid the waste generated by tens-of-millions of amenity kits are thrown away by hotel chains – we use them once but they last forever on our planet. Green box is made from compostable plastic which will let hotels industrially compost and organically recycle the items in a controlled environment. The design goes beyond providing functional value and also aims to educate guests about the material and its impact to encourage better choices even after the vacation ends. Each box comes with a disposable bin for the room to familiarize guests with the new kind of waste-stream. The guests will sort materials as compostable and non-compostable by simply following the color grading – green for compostable and white for general waste. Then they will put the green compostable items in the green part of the box and the white parts (contaminated with bacterias to be composted) will be disposed of with the general waste.

Once separated, the green items along with the rest of the organic waste from the hotel restaurant will be composted on an industrial facility. After 10 weeks of the methanization process, we will be left with soil and bio-gas which can be used to generate power. In fact, the Green Box might produce enough energy to power a standard LED light bulb for over 27 hours. The remaining organic matter left could be used as a soil fertilizer. The color system is easy to follow and by doing it themselves, the guests can see how much waste is being generated. This creates a beautiful circular design and business model for hotels to implement using bioplastics.

Designer: OnMateria

This futuristic transit hub is also an educational sanctuary in Mojave Desert!

Last summer’s Young Architects Competitions (YAC) saw several amazing concept designs but this Hyperloop Desert Campus by Begum Aydinoglu of Pada Labs, Mariana Custodio Dos Santos, and Juan Carlos Naranjo is a part of the noteworthy 30 shortlisted ones. The challenge was about creating a building in the Mojave Desert, Nevada, that blends the future of transport while also standing as a “sanctuary of science.” Of course, it is an architectural competition so the structure had to visually “wow” the audience/judges.

The team kept in mind the current struggles we face as a planet and came up with a design that focused on environmental sustainability, resilience, and knowledge sharing. Hyperloop Desert Campus will be a building that houses multi-dimensional experiences. The team reimagined the Mojave Desert which is North America’s driest desert (and stretches across four states!) as an oasis in their proposal. The campus sports a stadium-like design with smooth curves bordering four courtyards that feature water elements to support the growth of tall palm trees and other greenery which will also allow for natural cooling and ventilation in the space. Hyperloop’s looping structure will have solar panel farms installed on each of its sides to generate renewable energy that can support the campus while the four courtyards will be designed to facilitate rainwater collection and greywater recycling.

“The symbiosis between the rough landscape and the iconic technology, helps The Hyperloop Desert Campus find its form. The building was designed to seamlessly rise from the desert ground of Nevada…the building’s design spirals up – inspired by the speed of travel – large corridors loop around these Oasis, crossing and interchanging levels, resembling complex interchange high-ways in form and function,” says the trio. 2020 taught us all a lot about resilience and that is the core of Hyperloop Desert Campus as well and will be seen in the form of inclusive knowledge sharing with educational tours, multiple technical cores that establish a fail-safe emergency system, and built-in expandability with adaptable interiors to allow for flexible future growth.

Designers: Mariana Cabugueira, Begum Aydinoglu and Juan Carlos Naranjo

This sustainable packaging design is made from discarded pineapple leaves that grow into a new plant!

Single-use plastic is one of the biggest contributors to ocean pollution – it makes up for more than 50% of the plastic waste problem. I am constantly looking for innovative packaging designs that can inspire the design community to continue building on sustainable solutions and I am adding Sprout to that list! It is an environmentally-friendly packaging that aims to contribute to the growth of local plants. I also love that the design is interactive – you can learn about the seeds and plant them instead of discarding the packaging!

Sprout’s plantable feature ensures that its life does not end right after consumption; its purpose continuously changes before, during, and after use – it’s where circular economy meets sustainable design. Each seed was selected after intense research to pick those that are non-invasive and would be seamlessly embedded in the Pinyapel material. Pinyapel is a specialty paper made of discarded pineapple leaves and was the result of an initiative led by the Design Center of the Philippines to give local communities and resources a boost. Mangulabnan ensures proper composting and planting is possible by using organic soy ink for the printing as well as an edible starch wrapper to further protect the food item inside the package.

This also addressed the issue of agricultural waste accumulating in the country, especially since the Philippines is one of the largest producers of pineapple fruit in the world. Sprout’s design will help eliminate unnecessary waste and encourage locals to actively contribute to the preservation of the diverse Philippine flora. Through the use of design, consumers can interact better with the product, giving them a sense of fulfillment and responsibility, as well as reinforce a positive behavioral change to further avoid littering and other harmful habits that

Designer: Pat Mangulabnan

These tiny backyard offices blend the best of Airbnb and WeWork into rental WFH pods!

After a year of working remotely, most of us have embraced living in pajamas and would love the option of continuing to work remotely even when offices reopen. Studies have shown that remote working is allowing employees to be more engaged, productive, and happier because it cuts down the stress of commuting and frees up time that can be spent with family or on hobbies. But working remotely also comes with its own set of distractions if you share your home and that is where Nooka steps in – an Irish startup that lets you rent out ting office sheds for your backyard!

Nooka calls these sheds ‘proximity office space’ that people can lease or re-rent, Airbnb-style, to others. Believe it or not, Nooka was developing the concept pre-pandemic after noticing that people who used coworking spaces ended up spending a lot of time working from home in less-than-ideal conditions to avoid commuting or upgrading their coworking space plans. “Even before COVID hit, we saw that a lot of people were working from home, and most of the time, they’re just working from their kitchen table, their sofa, sometimes their bed. The work-from-home experience hasn’t really shifted at all. Nobody’s really innovated on that,” says Leanne Beesley, CEO of Nooka.

You can buy backyard offices but they are really expensive for even the most basic models, so Nooka decided to fill this gap in the market by going for a membership model that takes the best of WeWork, Airbnb, and office pods – the smallest office rents for €299 a month and the two-person size for €399. It can be easily installed in your backyard and comes fully equipped with a desk, chair, closet, high-speed WiFi, power, lighting, a smart lock, heating, and cooling. The team is working on versions that also come with a bathroom. They can be rented out for a few hours or for a few weeks if you are traveling. Nooka also wanted to offer the option for anyone with a backyard to rent the space to neighbors who might not have yards of their own and all of this can be managed through their app.

These office sheds can also be shared by communities for remote working and remote learning even after the pandemic. It allows for people to keep living in areas that aren’t full of offices and offset a trend of people moving to cities because they don’t see opportunities in smaller towns. Working from home and having a flexible lifestyle can improve the quality of life and encourage a lower carbon footprint. You can choose to stay close to home, share the amenities with the community to reduce costs, and even open up a network for expats or frequent business trip flyers where they can have an office pod to work from!

Designer: Nooka

These solar-powered sleeping pods were designed to provide homeless people shelter in winter!

There are an estimated 860,000 homeless people in Germany and it is a well-known fact that the winter there is brutal! No one should be suffering out in the cold and to help the circumstances, a German-based team of designers and developers called Ulmer Nest have created sleeping pods that are windproof + waterproof. These pods are to be installed across the German city of Ulm to provide the homeless with emergency shelter at night. What started as a local project is now getting attention from all over the world so that it can be scaled and replicated.

The sleeping pods are called Ulmer Nest and provide a safe, warm place to sleep in winter. The interdisciplinary design team did intensive research to get accurate insight and sentiment analysis about the audience who will be using the pod. They found that many people can’t stay in dedicated homeless shelters for various reasons like them not wanting to be separated from their dog or the fear of crime and violence. Keeping this in mind they worked on the first two Ulmer Nest prototypes.

These capsules are crafted from timber and steel which are resilient and protect against harsh weather. Ulmer Nest pods are fitted with solar panels and a set of sensors that monitor temperature, humidity, smoke, and carbon dioxide levels. It also has a heat exchanger to supply fresh air and maintain circulation. Motion sensors also replace the need for cameras while protecting privacy but also making sure that social workers can be alerted in case the situation demands it because overnight stays are not allowed. Two people can sleep in the pod at a time and take cover from rain, frost, and humidity. It is also connected to a radio network so the person using the pod can get in touch with the team managing it if needed. Ulmer volunteers clean the pod each day to make sure hygiene is maintained and also why powder-coated metal was used in the design to make it easy-to-clean. These pods take safety seriously and are protected against fire, it includes an electronic verification system that enables the person to lock it from inside.

Ulm saw its very first sleeping pods in the winter of 2020. Given how that year changed things, the design has been upgraded and testing continues to make sure it is efficient and reliable. Ulmer Nest is the last resort option for those who cannot find shelter anywhere else.

Designers: Patrick Kaczmarek, Florian Geiselhart, Falko Pross, Manuel Schall, Dirk Bayer, and Kathrin Uhlig.

This furniture design is a functional piece for you and a playful landscape for your cat!

Do your pets understand personal boundaries or are they normal? Sharing space has become more challenging post-pandemic as our work and non-work lives have merged into one home but we have also started spending a lot more time with our pets who may be thinking “why is this human taking over my favorite chair?” So Space International created catHAUS that encourages harmony between you and your cat when you are in the same space!

The angular furniture piece was envisioned to be a domestic retreat for an undomesticated species. It incorporates your needs and your pet’s needs too – two different functions but in the same piece of furniture. For you, catHAUS is a seating option and for your cat, it is a landscape of different textures. Playing off of the iconographic conventions of the familiar gable roof, catHAUS operates at the scale of both shelter and furniture.

Its exterior is abstract and neutral in its materiality while the plush interior is finished in synthetic turf and vertical supports wrapped in sisal rope. The design is highly engaging for your feline friend and keeps them from disturbing you while you read, work or watch Netflix!

Designer: Space International

This terracotta container provides a natural & energy-efficient way to store produce!

The trend of growing microgreens and herbs at home has come with its own set of pros and cons – people are starting to grow their own food to be more green but the food storage solutions are starting to get more complex and not green. DUNSTA was designed to bring the age-old tradition of storing fresh produce in a natural way while being aligned with your modern lifestyle. It uses evaporative cooling to create an environment similar to that of the root cellar, but for an urban living arrangement – so your fruits and vegetables will stay crispy and fresh longer without needing electricity!

Terracotta is baked clay, it is natural, high-quality, and maintenance-friendly material that is sustainably made as it doesn’t exploit natural resources like trees or need a high carbon footprint generating things like electricity during its production. Terracotta has distinct red and orange hues due to its iron content and is a porous form of clay. It is preferred in design because the manufacturing process is very simple, sustainable, and eco-friendly – it does not include any harmful chemicals and therefore is the perfect choice to store your food in. DUNSTA keeps the environment inside cool with a base layer of sand and a little channel on the top where you can add water. Once covered with the lid, your produce will remain fresh without the need for plastic wraps or containers.

While terracotta is eco-friendly it is important to remember that it is not biodegradable. This means nothing will happen to the DUNSTA even after multiple centuries because it will not degenerate into the soil as clay does so you can also use it as a sustainable time capsule!

Designer: Alexandra Fransson

A giant blue slide sits in the middle of this modern family home!

Who said slides were only for kids? Reflect Architecture answered the calls of all us adults who still love the thrill of going down a slide and no longer have to be embarrassed about it. The team renovated a house for a young family living in Toronto, Canada, by brightening its otherwise minimal interiors with a pale blue slide that runs in the center of the structure. It is a skill to have a slide in a family home without taking away from the grown-up aesthetic. This is the only way I would like to leave the home for work or come down for breakfast!

The renovated house is named Walker and the updated layout aimed to create lighter, open spaces that better serve the family’s lifestyle while pro more bonding and playtime. At the heart of the house is the children’s twisting blue slide which connects the basement level to the ground floor. It was included to liven-up the lower-level, bring in natural light to the space, and make it “not basement like”. The parents are entrepreneurs in the health and wellness space so it was important to have a feature in the house that encouraged better mental and physical health, therefore elements were picked to integrate play in their lives. “When I got the initial design brief, they noted wanting to keep the second floor as a separate unit to rent out and hence we combined the basement level with the lower level to create a single-dwelling for the family,” said the team.

The now brightened-up basement is where three children’s bedrooms are located with three bathrooms and a guest bedroom. The ground floor is where the couple gets their space with the master bedroom and ensuite. Common areas like the study kitchen, dining, and entertainment zone are also on the ground floor. The two floors are also connected via a folding wooden staircase next to the slide. This staircase is lined with a perforated-metal balustrade and lit by night lights integrated into the ceiling so nobody has to crawl up a slide – something we have all learned is basically a kid’s version of mission impossible. Windows were expanded and sliding doors were added to open up the house some more. The street-facing side of the lower level features metal panels, wooden louvers, and dark wood cladding that has been treated using the Japanese technique of ‘shou sugi ban’. Walker’s interiors showcase a simple and minimal material palette of light wooden textures, marble countertops, white walls with pops of color in cabinets, and of course the slide. The client wanted a “calming canvas to live their life on” and Reflect Architecture delivered!

Designer: Reflect Architecture

5 years in the making, this chair is produced in a single mold, reduces waste & saves space!

Chairs are one of the most common projects given to design students because it takes a lot of creativity to turn an everyday mundane object that has already been redesigned a million times into something innovative – it is the design world’s equivalent of “How will you sell me this regular pen?” Designers Martinelli Venezia and Alessandro Stabile discussed the idea of a chair that represents the contemporary world, in terms of production technology, sales methods, and features. The chair had to be an iconic, democratic product, meant to be sold online, and explored the theme of hyper-seriality.

Chair 1:1 was born after a rigorous five-year design process. Venezia and Stabile had finally achieved their goal and created a mountable/demountable chair whose every piece was molded in one go. This optimized the mold size, speeded up production, and reduced waste drastically when compared to a traditional chair. “The chair is sold just as it comes out of the mold, bypassing several steps; it will be the buyer who will complete the process: this is what we call hyper-seriality,” says the designer duo. “When looking at the Chair 1:1, it is inevitable to have a blast from the past, remembering the boxed toy kits. As in that case, there are no screws nor bolts: assembly is effortless and immediate. Mounting an object makes a bond with it and makes you feel its full value; it builds an affection that stops you from getting rid of it.”

The fastening elements of the individual parts are made to be easily producible and extremely resistant. It has been designed to be easily stored, shipped, and transported – 26 boxed up chairs take up only 1 square meter which is the key to increasing online sales as well as shipping sustainably! “While designing, we have often wondered whether in a world saturated with products, it was right to work in the direction of hyper-seriality with a material such as plastic. We believe, however, that the real mistake is to combine it with other materials that make it hard to recycle as well as to use it for packaging or in disposable products,” explain Venezia and Stabile. A sustainable product also has a long lifespan which reduces the need to replacement and therefore reduces excessive consumption as well as production waste which is why Chair 1:1  is made with single-material.

Designers: Martinelli Venezia and Alessandro Stabile