Take it from your friendly neighborhood heroes (your healthcare workers) that sanitizing your hands and wearing a mask is crucial when you step out. Masks were a fashion accessory even before the pandemic, so everyone adopted wearing it a lot faster than the habit of sanitizing. Most of the time we forget we touched something in shared public places and our hand goes straight to our face – yikes! To make sanitizing easier, especially when we are outdoors, a designer has created this conceptual Spiderman-inspired wearable sanitizer that lets you be a discreet hero without a bodysuit.
The designer wanted to solve the behavioral perception and usage when it came to traditional sanitizer bottles. He wanted to create something that was innovative, ergonomic, easy to carry, and made it hassle-free to sanitize frequently when you go outside. I, for one, do get lazy if I have to constantly remove the bottle from my backpack when I am carrying groceries in my hand and a wearable sanitizer would truly be a blessing. The smartwatch-shaped personal gadget has a refillable container for the sanitizer liquid and will dispense it with a simple press. We can’t wait to see this concept sketched out with more details.
Its shape is simple and unobtrusive if you have to wear it daily. You can mount it on a wristband or even attach to your watch/fitness trackers – the power is literally in your hands, and you already know that with great power comes great responsibility.
While the world handles the COVID-19 crisis, we haven’t forgotten the climate crisis. Designers Lucy Zakharova and Ted Lu have proposed a plan to tackle the ocean pollution problem with a network of five capsules that will work towards restoring the marine ecosystem’s health. The revolutionary project has been rightfully named ‘En·cap·su·lat·ing’! Let’s dive in.
There is actually so much trash in the ocean that we have a designated area called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The patch is 1.6 million square kilometers large and these capsules will be built from the plastic waste found here. There are literal islands made of plastic and marine life is forced to either eat plastic or get entangled in it which has been adversely affecting the larger food chain as well as migration – the marine ecosystem is being tested harshly and if not acted upon right now, it could collapse. Each capsule will be deployed at a different depth level in the ocean and work for that zone so the load is divided equally between all five structures. The real revolution here is that each pod of this constellation is non-static or migrating in design, so the pod can move along with the floating islands of plastic.
The capsules will have a non-static infrastructure and move cyclically in their ocean zones. They are not only there to mitigate the crisis caused by humans but also help the animals have a healthier environment. The main goal of this project is to detoxify the ocean by changing the plastic configuration and spread more awareness of its long-term toxic effects. The structures will have dedicated areas for research labs and data collection about the deep sea. Teams will monitor temperature, pressure, salinity, and working on preserving marine life that has not been able to adapt to the climatic changes. Structures like these are crucial for us to understand the weight of our actions and do our best to fix the damage so that we don’t have to deal with another crisis – 2021 can be a good year if we try!
Designers: Lucy Zakharova and Ted Lu
The conceptual designs of the facility
Drone view of the facility.
Top view of the floating structure.
Underwater view of the facility.
The underwater sectional view of the facility.
The underwater view showcasing the three different facilities: education, research, and environmental preservation.
The flattened map of the Earth showing the plastic islands floating in the oceans.
The concentration of the plastic trash in the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean
Sketch/ exploration of the environmental preservation station
I am currently quarantining in India and it is peak summer here. When I say peak I am talking about 108°F with 80% humidity – think of it as a sauna room without any temperature control and you can’t leave. So naturally, the spots right under the ceiling fan are prime but since I share the house with more than one person, we have a cooler which brings another problem to the scene – you can only sit near a plug point. Times like these are when I think about fans being wireless like most of our home appliances and little did I know that it already exists and that too a rattan fan – technology and tropical aesthetic in one!
The rattan fan’s form has been inspired by some classic rattan pieces like the iconic chair, woven baskets, beach bags, and lightweight cabinets that you find on islands. It is airy, it technically has to be, but it visually adds a ‘lightness’ to the room it is in. Rattan is a natural sustainable material that is versatile (talk about being used from furniture to fashion) and sturdy. It also adds a touch of luxury while remaining subtle and unobtrusive to the existing interior design. Unlike coolers, the wireless rattan fan is not an eyesore and provides the flexibility to sit anywhere because the power of the breeze is in your hands now.
While it may look like a simple appliance, this appliance has all the features of a modern fan – swing, timer, and speed controls all seamlessly integrated on the back as slightly-dipped buttons so the form remains smooth. It also comes with a matching neutral-tones remote and a charger that goes on the base of the fan. I also love the fact that it has a handle which makes it easy to move around and that actually works in places where wheels aren’t the most efficient (like carpets or tiles that you don’t want to have skid marks on!). The earthy tones make it fit within any space and I am sure no one would complain as long as they have almost-island wind blowing right at them.
We all know the things we have to carry to protect ourselves from bad weather – umbrellas, scarves, hats, etc. Given the new reality we are all living in, let’s add pandemic to that bad weather which means we need to carry more things to protect ourselves because we can’t see this storm coming. PPE like masks, gloves, and sanitizers are helping us complete our essential errands but we cannot be in lockdown forever, the world will be opening up again and in this ‘new normal’ we will see modifications to shared spaces like protective screens that will continue to reduce the transmission risk.
Now not every cafe, co-working space, park or library will have screens to protect you and in that case, you carry your own – say hello to Ventaglio! Trust me, it is not weird to take extra steps to protect yourself, it is as good as carrying an umbrella. Ventaglio is a portable screen that makes PPE look aesthetic while making sure you can go to more places than just the grocery store. It was designed to help people transition out of quarantine safely and continue practicing social distancing in common places. The screen is created using translucent polyethylene so that it doesn’t make you feel too disconnected from the space you are in. It also ensures stability with a belt that can go under the table to fix the divider in place.
Unlike the usual PPE that can leave you feeling a little sad about the times we are living in, the Ventaglio’s portable screen comes with a friendly refreshing vibe. Maybe because it folds and unfolds like a handheld Japanese fan which makes it familiar and something we associate with summer! I can only imagine the beautiful designs this portable screens can come in that will make more people comfortable with its usage – almost like how we decorate our graduation caps. Safe to say that I am a ‘fan’ of the Ventaglio screen.
We all collectively want to roast this pandemic out of existence, it has truly turned us all into Monica Geller with the constant disinfecting and cleaning things. Our phones are actually dirtier than toilet seats and we obviously use it all the time, so considering the rise of the bacteria we should make sure to also sanitize our phones along with our groceries (what a time to be alive). Combining two of Monica Geller’s favorite things, cooking + cleaning, this neat toaster actually is a smart appliance that disinfects your phone.
This conceptual toaster was designed to make disinfecting your phones a little easier and, honestly, more fun! Instead of the usual wipe down, this turns the task into a small interaction with the product that leaves you with a nice feeling instead of “I have to wipe my phone 25 times a day because there is a pandemic”. It aims to make the interaction between products and people more playful. The toaster also charges your phone while disinfecting it which is a nice way to reduce your screen time, I mean your phone is being “toasted” so you can’t take it out till it’s done! While the concept is still being developed, I assume it uses UV light to disinfect and sanitize the phone while wirelessly charging it.
The physical form is that of a minimal, modern toaster – something we recognize and value. While we are on that topic, we could also have a panini press or grill that does the same job for tablets and laptops! It reminds me of how the fresh plates at a restaurant are always warm and that leaves you with a sense of them being clean. That is the very emotion I gather when I imagine using this smartphone toaster to disinfect and charge my phone. Food and technology are evidently my two favorite things and if they are disinfecting, then its a win-win in this crazy world!
Have you ever struggled with this dilemma – should you keep the kitchen window open when you cook so the ventilation keeps your place smelling alright or should you keep the window closed so that pollution is now the ‘spice’ accidentally added to your dish? This suspended kitchen lamp is an air purifier that keeps the space ventilated and particles controlled without needing to open your window!
We all have wanted to open the windows at some point when cooking not because of the smell but because of the particles that will be circulated everywhere otherwise. The ‘Keling’ is a conceptual air purifier combined with a kitchen lamp. The bottom is designed to absorb the fine dust generated while cooking while the top emits purified air. The height is adjustable and replacing the filter is more convenient than cleaning the bulky exhausts. You can also sync it with your smartphone to get control lighting, fine dust, cooking, filter, and wind direction through the mobile app.
This sleek device keeps the outside polluted air away from your food while making sure you aren’t breathing in any pepper dust!
I am obsessing over outdoor cabins since we are all stuck indoors. My favorites are the ones like LUMIPOD because they bring the vastness of nature into your cabin through the thoughtfully designed structure and, in this case, creative windows! We all know windows are a true blessing in quarantine and LUMIPOD seems to have the one so large its basically a door into the wild.
The LUMIPOD are a series of prefabricated cabins that are installed 1000m above sea level in the French Alps (here is when you start planning your post-pandemic getaway) so you can only imagine how pristine the views are. To do the French Alps justice, the design team built the structure with one aim – giving you a fully immersive experience of being in nature with a luxurious upgrade. The most unique feature about this cabin is its LUMICENE windows – the curved window provides a 180º view and makes you feel like you are in a snow globe. The window is set in aluminum frames sliding between two rails so you can blend the indoors and outdoors by simply opening the window.
The circular cabin measures 5.45 m with interiors specifically designed to resemble a high-end hotel. The structure is made from steel to provide top grade stability that is required by the LUMICINE windows. Another interesting feature about this house is how it keeps the insects away – the exterior has been wrapped in Douglas fir which has been charred using a Japanese technique (shou-sugi-ban) proven to keep bugs outside your bedroom! The interiors have earthy tones because of the light oak and merino wool usage which provide a warm ambience while also keeping the cabin literally warm through their insulation properties.
It is a minimal cabin that allows you to focus on the scenic experience rather than being distracted by free toiletries. “This prefabricated housing module, a real cocoon of simplicity, settles in the middle of Nature to welcome city dwellers willing to relax away from the concrete jungle,” says the LUMIPOD team. The cabin has three different sizes to accommodate your needs and can be installed in 2-3 days. It feels like a personal snow globe and I will continue to imagine all the little details about it until the next cabin getaway.
If you were to open your cleaning closet, how many bottles would you find? Detergents? Bleach? Softener? Lysol? Not only does it clutter the space but it is also inefficient – have you ever had a Tide bottle fall on you while reaching out to get the soap? I can confirm its not pretty. Also, not everyone or every brand provides refills so all you are doing is going through an endless consumption cycle that is generating more waste. Clean surfaces but not a clean planet. Rena is a conceptual bottle designed to specifically solve the above issue – one bottle fits all!
Rena’s aim was to create an innovative bottle that could be a bank for all the cleaning liquids we needed. It has a reservoir tank and replaceable cartridge that holds concentrated chemicals that are mixed and diluted in specific ratios to clean different surfaces or dispense for laundry. It takes the guesswork out so that your surfaces and clothes are protected from your chemical calculations (let’s be real, ‘one cap’ is not a measurement). The bottle has an ergonomic design and using it is simple – insert the cartridge, fill in the water, select the surface you intend to clean on your Rena mobile app, and via Bluetooth the bottle will collect that data configure a detergent mix based on it. Then all you do is press the trigger and the bottle will dispense the concoction. I can only imagine Monica Geller screaming if she saw this.
Cartridges are created to be refillable to reduce landfill waste and can be customized by the brand. The chemicals are pressurized which makes it easy to move it into the mixing chamber without a pump. The safety mechanism makes sure the chemicals are not dispensed if the cartridge is not inserted in Rena. It also features a DC pump instead of the traditional pump and a 750 ml water tank. And lastly, it is rechargeable so no need to scrimmage through your junk drawers to find spare batteries. The universal detergent bottle makes cleaning more efficient, safe, and easier on the environment. Long road ahead but designs like Rena gives us a good headstart!
Let’s be honest, it would be a lot more fun to take medicines if they were wrapped in Haribo gummy bears. While it is mainly a problem to get children to swallow tablets, I know many adults too who will go to any lengths to swap their tablets with syrup. This water-free medicine jelly is a life savior for many!
Not only does this medicine design make swallowing easier, but it also addresses the larger problem of access to clean water in poorer countries. Since drinking water is a problem, even if medicines are available, it is harmful to people to be taking them with contaminated water. This innovative jelly medicine is created to be water-free so people don’t have to pick between curing themselves or adding on to existing health risks. The jelly is the same size as a sip of water so the patient wont need to drink anything when taking the medicine. “Poor hygiene and poor water quality are causes of many diseases, including cholera and typhoid fever. When taking medicine in such conditions, there is a risk of acquiring additional illness if the medication is taken with unsanitary water. Jelly medicine eliminates this hygienic problem because it can be easily swallowed without water,” says the designer.
Jelly medicine is individually packaged to minimize air contact and to prevent almost oxidation of nutrients from the moment it comes into contact with oxygen. It also provides customized medicines by individually tailoring the packaging. You can order medicines for specific diseases and age groups instead of having all tablets coming separately and wasting resources. The aim of this water-free jelly medicine is to ensure that people in developing countries do not needlessly suffer from diseases caused by contaminated water.
Speakers for designers are like pizza toppings for regular people, you can never stop with the combinations and you have to keep innovating to find THE one. And on that note I’ll say the Seda speaker is climbing the top speaker charts very rapidly, I mean it has already won the Silver A’Design Award Winner 2020 while being a finalist in the Azerbaijan Design Award 2020 and getting an honorable mention in Design that Educates Awards 2019. Overachiever but we love that in design!
Portable speakers don’t usually have intriguing aesthetics, so Seda was created with the intention of blending both visuals and technology to make it stand out. Its physical form radiates a zen feeling while also having a multifunctional appeal. Seda isn’t just smart, it was made to be intelligent. Seda has a pen holder in the center which also acts as a small space organizer. It features an embedded light bar in its external body which works as a desk light and it also has a dim ambient light – to be honest, this speaker is more lit than the playlist I made for it. It almost looks like an accent interior piece for your home than a portable speaker.
It can be connected via the USB port and Bluetooth, so you can leave it out instead of putting it away in a drawer with a bag of chords (never know which one of those belongs to the speaker!). The media player control panel embedded in Seda’s body makes it compatible with multiple devices so you can connect more than just your phone via Bluetooth. If holiday season isn’t canceled this year, I am putting Seda on my wishlist!