This futuristic Polestar automotive design is the solution to every modern nomad’s wanderlust!

Polestar is a futuristic, luxury travel concept designed out of the modern nomad’s need for unrestricted traveling and socializing.

While COVID-19 is still making its rounds, from the pandemic, we’ve learned that time spent in nature and connecting with other humans are priorities of everyday life. Holed up in our tiny apartments, all we want is to kick down the door and run to the nearest lakeshore or mountaintop.

With travel restrictions making it near impossible to come and go as we please, designers have worked on solutions for autonomous travel. 21-year-old designer Kang Sik Park conceptualized an aerial automobile that can also float on water to bring groups of people to faraway places where they can take in nature and enjoy a futuristic concept of vacation.

Dubbed Polestar, Kang Sik Park envisioned their futuristic automobile dressed in an optic white aluminum-like facade, which is accented with strips of sleek black metal for a refined touch. Symmetrical on all sides, the exterior of Polestar is used to represent connectivity and the coming together of humans for a shared interest.

Hover blades slide out from the vehicle’s roof to lift Polestar off the ground into the air. Additionally, Park equipped Polestar with progressive technology such as GPS and facial recognition to help modernize the airborne vehicle.

Inside, the same sleek look is maintained and can transform into a warmer, golden-hour-soaked ambiance to appeal to each user’s changing tastes. The Polestar is outfitted with contemporary amenities that are sure to please the modern traveler, such as rotating lounge chairs, food and drink services, as well as panoramic windows to provide plenty of views of the natural world.

Designer: Kang Sik Park

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This door latch attachment is a great COVID-time invention, providing a safe, hands-free way of opening doors!

The Safe Lever Door Opener is a hands-free door opener designed for commercial settings like restaurants, doctor’s offices, and workplaces.

The output of mechanical aid devices that have come out in response to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the value of design when it intersects with health industries. When disaster strikes, designers pick up the pieces and build solutions. Doors have been a touchy subject for many throughout the pandemic–no one wants to touch a germ-ridden door handle. That’s why Dominic Spooner of Ember Design House created the Safe Lever Door Opener.

While various, innovative door-opening solutions have come out in recent years, like hands-free foot-door openers, they don’t work for every door type. Specifically, commercial settings like office buildings and doctor’s offices could benefit from door openers designed for door lever latches. Walking through office buildings and medical rooms, the doors are made for privacy above all else.

With this in mind, opening doors in commercial settings requires a bit more effort. The Safe Lever Door Opener works on lever latches by clipping to the door handle’s horizontal bar to provide a hands-free opening mechanism. The Safe Lever Door Opener comes with a bolstered area where users can place their forearms to unhinge the door’s lock and open the door.

Equipped with all the material necessary for setup, the Safe Lever Door Opener can be attached and fastened within five minutes. Inspired by his own hands-free method of opening doors, the team behind the Safe Lever Door Opener suggests, “It is time to eliminate that pain point safely, reliably, and affordably across restaurants, offices, schools, government buildings, and anywhere there are lever doors.”

Designer: Dominic Spooner and Ember Design House

Equipped with all necessary material for assembly, the Safe Lever Door Opener is your no-fuss door-opening solution.

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The FiiT face-mask is turning the protective medical device into a customizable fashion accessory

Just like you can match a tie, watch, and cufflinks with a suit, or shoes and purse with a dress, the FiiT mask’s design features swappable parts, components, and accents that let you basically make your mask an extension of your outfit of the day.

Even though we’re pretty much turning the corner on this pandemic, the reality for most of the world is that masks are now an outdoor essential. Designed not just to protect one from diseases but to also help deal with worsening air quality, wildfire smoke, and allergens, face masks have found themselves as a standard part of people’s outfits in countries in the east, and are slowly permeating the zeitgeist in western countries… although one problem remains. Those blue surgical masks aren’t doing anyone any favors, strictly aesthetically speaking.

Designers: Flavien Hello & Matthieu Lecuyer

Click Here to Buy Now: $80.10 $149 (46% off for YD readers with coupon code “YANKOFIIT“). Hurry, sale ends on Nov 24.

Just how spectacles and walking sticks went from being medical aids to fashion accessories, the FiiT mask aims at transcending the face-mask’s clinical nature, turning it into a fashion accessory that’s comfortable to wear – while obviously still doing a good job of filtering the air you breathe. The mask’s design can easily be separated into its two halves – its appearance, and its performance. On the visual front, the mask sports a soft, stiff design, reminiscent of soft-shell cases. Unlike the pleated, flimsy, fabric design found on disposable masks, the FiiT’s mask sits well on your face, respecting and accentuating its contours, while never suffocating you by pressing against your nose and mouth. The mask comes with a 3-part infinitely reusable design, featuring a headstrap, an outer cover (with the valve), and finally an 8-ply replaceable NANO filter sandwiched between the two, secured in place by metal studs on the sides that give the FiiT its punkish aesthetic.

FiiT lets you choose every aspect of your mask’s design, letting you mix and match different straps, accents, studs, and even allowing you to explore colors and prints on the front cover. Just as how you match an outfit, choosing a hoodie, jeans, and sneakers that go together as an ensemble, the FiiT’s design lets you build out your mask and change it whenever you want. Even though the mask comes with multiple custom parts, it weighs less than 40g (that’s less than your spectacles), and the FiiT’s technical fabrics prioritize breathability, so you aren’t constantly adjusting the mask, taking it off, or fiddling with it through the day.

8 layers of filtration to protect you from fine particles and nanoparticles, pollens, bacteria, viruses, gases, and odors.

Sitting in between the mask’s two outer parts is its replaceable NANO Filtration® fabric, an 8-ply filter that traps up to 99.91% of air pollutants, giving you crisp, clean air for anywhere between 6-12 weeks before needing to be replaced. Working on a microscopic level, the filter’s patented R-PUR technology is the first in the world to protect you from nanoparticles as small as 20 nanometres. The filter is accompanied by the FiiT’s valve system, which sits on the front cover. Equipped with a twist-to-activate system, the valve can be shut, forcing exhaled air to pass through the filter too (useful on airplanes and in smaller environments), or can simply be twisted to let you freely breathe out warm air, increasing the mask’s breathability by up to 300%. Finally, the FiiT comes with an app that measures the air quality of your surroundings, constantly calculating your filter’s efficacy with time. Depending on the air quality you’re breathing, the app can tell you when to replace filters, so you’re always breathing the freshest air possible, and you never end up throwing a clean filter before it actually needs replacing.

The FiiT comes from the folks at R-PUR, who debuted with the Nano mask back in 2016, which focused around helping cyclists and fitness enthusiasts breathe clean air (promptly selling over 60,000 masks since its launch). With the FiiT, however, R-PUR champions an approach that combines fashion with utility. The masks balance key features like comfort, reusability, and 99.91% filtration, with a wildly customizable design that lets the wearer choose what kind of mask they want to wear… because if masks are here to stay, the least we can do is look beyond that boring (and mildly triggering) blue surgical mask.

Click Here to Buy Now: $80.10 $149 (46% off for YD readers with coupon code “YANKOFIIT“). Hurry, sale ends on Nov 24.

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It’s almost 2022 and we still haven’t figured out transparent face masks yet…

November 2021 marks two important occasions – firstly, the imminent arrival of the new year 2022, and secondly, it also is the 2-year anniversary of this blasted pandemic that’s kept us all indoors and has altered life in unthinkable ways. This means we’ve spent two years trying to figure out a cure to the disease, but haven’t tackled the everyday pain points of living in a pandemic… notably, the issue of the suffocating (both visually and physically) face mask.

In two years of wearing face masks, there haven’t been any phenomenal mass efforts to change how masks look or function. We’ve covered our fair share of futuristic masks on this site, but none of them have really sparked a global movement to wear transparent shields around our noses and mouths. It’s just reinforced my belief that easier solutions are always better, and that the perfect face mask is still a relentless work in progress… and South African designer George Gibbens has thrown his hat into the ring with the Venta, a transparent face mask that received the Red Dot Design Concept Award this year.

The Venta mask separates the conventional face mask into three simple parts. A transparent shield, two replaceable filters, and the head strap. Designed to highlight your expression, the mask comes with a flexible transparent TPU cover, with two air filters plugged into the side, working almost like a pair of gills on either side of the face. The air you breathe enters and exits through these filters, ensuring you inhale clean air, and exhale without letting respiratory droplets out into the atmosphere. While the mask is currently in its developmental/conceptual phase, one would imagine it comes with some sort of anti-fog coating on the inside that ensures the transparent mask doesn’t mist up on the inside with your breath. The filters also automatically change color when they need to be replaced, making it easier to know when your mask needs a fresh set of filters so that you’re always breathing clean air.

“Throughout the edges of the clear front is a metal reinforced foam rubber frame. This allows the frame to be malleable and adjust to any face size and shape”, Gibbens mentions. “A new replaceable filter system that changes color to indicate when it needs to be replaced is an innovative solution to the problem of filter replacement in safety masks. A fully transparent front body allows facial expressions to be observed.”

The Venta Mask is a winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2021.

Designer: George Gibbens

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This tiny $25 nasal spray developed by a Harvard professor could make COVID-19 face-masks unnecessary

Just like you brush your teeth and take a bath every morning to protect yourself from sickness and bad hygiene, the Fend spray hopes to add one more simple process to your day, and in doing so, aims at drastically reducing the chance of transmitting or contracting any air-borne diseases. Formulated by Harvard professor, Dr. David Edwards, and encased in a bottle designed by Ammunition, the spray aims at reinforcing the nasal passage to prevent respiratory droplets from making their way out into the atmosphere.

While the topic of a mask mandate is enough to get the entire internet up in arms, the science behind it is, for the most part, pretty simple. Breathing causes respiratory droplets to fly out of your nose and mouth, which could carry viruses and potential diseases. The cotton face-mask simply serves as a physical barrier, preventing droplets from going out or traveling in… but the Fend hopes to fix the droplets at their very source.

The simple $25 nasal spray aims at reducing the number of respiratory droplets you breathe out by as much as 99%, drastically cutting the chances of spreading viruses or diseases. Invented in 2020 by Dr. David Edwards, an aerosol physicist by profession, during the initial spread of COVID-19, the spray is a special solution of saltwater fortified with calcium, which hydrates the mucus layer in your respiratory airways – your body’s natural defense system against airborne pathogens. A single spritz of the Fend’s liquid stabilizes the mucus, making you less likely to exhale droplets, and even trapping inhaled droplets so that they don’t make their way into your lungs. In clinical trials, FEND was shown to clean away up to 99% of respiratory droplets from the airways for up to 6 hours. You can read the peer-reviewed research here.

The spray is administered through a small, pocket-friendly bottle designed by San Francisco-based design firm Ammunition. Working off an older prototype of the Fend bottle, which retailed for $50 and came with a glass bottle and a spray mechanism powered by batteries, Ammunition got to work, fixing all those previous pitfalls to make the design simpler, more cost-effective, and efficient. In an interview with Fast Company, Ammunition founder Robert Brunner highlighted all the problems with the previous bottle – “It’s too expensive, it’s fragile, it requires batteries, it’s heavy, it doesn’t travel well. To turn it off you have to take the batteries out.”

In its newer avatar, the Fend bottle makes a few important design considerations. The new bottle is considerably smaller, operates without batteries, and comes pre-loaded with enough spray liquid to last an entire month with daily use. Its form looks nothing like those generic archaic nasal sprays or the L-shaped inhalers, a distinction that Brunner mentioned was incredibly necessary since the Fend is positioned as a modern health-and-hygiene product, and not something that would make the user self-conscious that they had some medical ailment.

The old Fend bottle vs. the new Fend bottle.

The new bottle does, however, celebrate the original Fend’s hourglass form. It comes with an opaque design, featuring two hourglass elements that press together, with a rubber waist in between that flexes when the spray is deployed. Small enough to be carried with you, and with an aesthetic that resembles more of a fragrance mister than a medical device, the Fend looks pure and comes with a fun, interactive design. The nozzle on the top deploys an ultra-fine mist of droplets perfectly small enough to travel through your nose right down to your trachea, where they help reinforce the mucus layer, giving you practically the same amount of protection from airborne diseases as a cotton mask. Designed to integrate into your everyday life, the folks behind the Fend recommend using it roughly twice a day, while you’re around people. Ultimately they hope that it becomes more of a common practice like flossing or popping a breath mint before going on a date, or deodorant before stepping out. I’d choose that kind of future over cotton masks any day of the week!

Designer: Ammunition Group for Fend

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Plush COVID Christmas Ornaments are a Real Product That Exists

Because nothing says Christmas 2021 like COVID, GIANTmicrobes is selling this four-pack of plush microbial COVID inspired Christmas Ornaments for $25. However, I think it goes without saying, I doubt COVID is actually on anybody’s Christmas list this year.

The four-pack includes COVID-19 with fuzzy Santa hat, an antibody in forest greens and candy cane, a white blood cell dressed as a snowman with top hat and carrot nose, and a COVID-19 vaccine with snowflakes and Christmas lights embroidery. That’s just really weird, especially for anybody who doesn’t have a microbe or disease-themed Christmas tree, which is everybody.

I only hope Santa doesn’t plan on dishing out COVID for people on his naughty list this year. That would be wrong. Even more wrong than the year he gave me tetanus. Big deal, so I set up a couple of booby traps, I was a child! Fine, it was last year. I just wanted a Playstation 5 so bad!

This original tiny home in the countryside is the ultimate freedom from city stress for this couple!

‘Living Big in a Tiny House,’ met up with New Zealand couple Russel and Leah to tour their tiny home built to escape the high stress of the city for the high hills of the countryside.

Over the span of three years, our worlds have seemed to downsize. The pandemic transformed our lifestyles and prompted many of us to escape the rat races of city living and find respite in nature. Garnering attention from city residents eager to get out, tiny homes have become our one-way tickets.

‘Living Big in a Tiny House,’ a YouTube channel that covers a variety of tiny homes, met up with Russel and Leah, a police detective and social worker, who swapped the stress of urban life for an original tiny home on their friend’s plot of farmland in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, the views are aplenty. No matter where your gaze goes, different views of sloping, grassy hillsides, golden hour sunsets, and towering trees seem to follow. For Russel and Leah, their tiny home was designed especially to bring the outdoors and all of its wonder inside. “Almost every wall,” Leah describes, “has got a window or a door and that, of course, makes the house feel bigger, bringing the outdoors in and keeping the house cool during the summer.”

While many tiny house builders coat their home’s interior walls in white paint to enlargen the living space, the windows that punctuate almost every wall in Russel and Leah’s house provide an open-air feel and allow room for moodier interior design elements.

Walking through the tiny home’s spacious french doors, the lounge area welcomes guests with a black and white cowhide rug to hearken the wildlife right outside and set the tone for the rest of the home. Just behind the rug, a plush, emerald corner sofa provides plenty of resting space and storage beneath its cushions.

From the living room, the dining area and kitchen are well within sight. A breakfast counter merges the two rooms together and doubles as a workspace. In stark contrast to the living room’s optic white walls, the kitchen features matte black walls and robust wooden accents that might come from cedar or cherry timber.

Beneath the all-black storage units, emerald tilework is illuminated with soft, warm under-cabinet lighting. Just next door to the living room is the couple’s bedroom and bathroom, where an incinerator toilet, laundry machines, and a foldout ironing board can be found.

When designing their tiny home, which measures out to 34x10ft, Russel and Leah were focused on council consent. While the home is prepared for off-grid living, with solar panels and water treatment plumbing intact and ready for use, Russel and Leah do not regularly live off-grid, opting instead for conventional electricity and plumbing.

Designers: Russel and Leah x Living Big in a Tiny House

Tokyo’s hotel designs new pandemic-era dining experience with transparent lanterns for guests to enjoy a face mask-free dinner!

The Tokyo Lantern Dinner at the Hoshinoya ryokan in Otemachi, Tokyo provides transparent lanterns made from vinyl for dining guests to experience group dinners without wearing masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Across the world, we’ve seen how the industry of design has impacted our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. From transparent dining pods to no-contact food trucks, designers have made eating out possible over these past three years. Even in 2021, COVID-19’s effect on dining out has stuck around and different versions of what we call the ‘new normal’ are still making rounds. At Hoshinoya, in Otemachi, Tokyo, a new dining experience called the ‘Tokyo Lantern Dinner,’ brings lanterns for each guest to use as transparent partitions against COVID-19 during group dinners.

Designed for dining guests to feel free and unmask during dinner, the lantern partitions were conceived by Hoshinoya for their familiarity with Japanese culture and customs. From the top of each lantern, soft, warm light pours over your head and meal, illuminating your facial expressions during conversation as well as the food on your plate. Produced by the long-established lantern store Kojima Shoten in Kyoto, each lantern measures 75-cm in diameter and 102-cm in height, leaving more than enough room to enjoy your meal without fear of splashing the transparent vinyl covering, which reaches 0.15 mm in thickness.

The designers behind Hoshinoya’s Tokyo Lantern Dinner created the experience to provide a space where loved ones who were kept apart due to the pandemic can meet and enjoy a quality meal together like we could before 2019. Limiting the dining area to 40-sqm, fresh, ventilated air is poured into the room 5.5 times per hour, around 11 times more than the average public setting in Tokyo.

Interested guests of Hoshinoya can make reservations for the Tokyo Lantern Dinner and dine with loved ones staying outside of the ryokan for ¥30,000 ($264.10) per group and ¥21,780 ($191.70) per person, The price includes a multi-course meal from a set menu called “Nippon Cuisine ~Fermentation~.” As described by Hoshinoya the menu contains, “A wide variety of fermented foods such as seasonings, soy sauce, and miso, which have been popular in Japan since ancient times, [as well as] preserved foods such as pickles and salted fish.”

Designer: Hoshinoya

This puffer jacket is filled with single-use masks and shows the pandemic-related environmental issues!

The pandemic has led to a huge lifestyle shift and in the bid to stay safe, the environment is suffering from the excessive use of plastic to wrap items, chemicals to sanitize, and the millions (or billions) of single-use PPE that eventually contribute to pollution. There are photographs of medical masks floating in the ocean with the animals and washing up on beaches is a heartbreaking sight. To bring this issue to light, designers Tobia Zambotti and Aleksi Saastamoinen created Coat-19, an icy blue puffer jacket made of discarded single-use masks, organic wool, and transparent recycled laminate.

The designers are based in Iceland that still has a mask mandate. Icelandic winds can be very strong so masks that aren’t carefully discarded blow from the streets into the otherwise pristine environment. To prevent this from happening they collected around 1500 light-blue masks from the streets of Reykjavík, thoroughly disinfected them with ozone gas, and shipped them to Helsinki where they became an unusual filling for “Coat-19” – a modern puffer jacket that highlights this absurd pandemic-related environmental issue.​

Most of the disposable masks available in the market are made with a thermoplastic called polypropylene which is also used to produce poly-fill, the most common acrylic stuffing for cheap down jackets – same material, same function, different look. Some of the light-blue masks were partly filled with organic cotton wool in order to create the puffy silhouette of the trendy oversized jacket.

The outer layer is a semi-transparent breathable and waterproof laminate based made from bio-sources that let the disposable masks be visible.​ There are about 1500 masks that make the filling along with organic cotton wool. While the sight is jarring, it is a reminder we all need to practice safety sustainably. We may come out of this pandemic or learn to live with it, but the climate crisis is not something we can solve with a shot. This is a plea to use alternatives if possible so that your safety in the present doesn’t compromise on the future of the planet.

Designer: Tobia Zambotti and Aleksi Saastamoinen

IKEA’s latest Paris project is a fleet of bike-driven sleeping capsules for people to nap in!

Photo by Twitter user @tomsDlu

La Sieste is an outreach project from IKEA that makes up a fleet of cargo bikes that carry sleeping capsules for people to take naps in while cyclists cart them around the streets of Paris.

We could all use a nap. The pandemic has changed our relationship with sleep and many across the globe experience sleeping issues as a result of the quarantine. According to a SleepStandards study, 98% of people in the US have developed new sleep problems post-lockdown. Thankfully, we can always nap and IKEA’s got our back. Hitting the streets of Paris from August 30 to September 3, IKEA launched La Sieste, a fleet of cargo bikes that cart sleeping capsules with beds around the city where people can take power naps in before returning to work.

In the midst of semi-returning to the office, we’re tired. Today’s workspaces have moved to the home and the lack of certainty around when we’ll be fully returning to the office is hanging us in an exhausting limbo. This newfound lack of sleep across the globe seems to be both a cause and effect of lifestyle changes brought on by the pandemic. Part-marketing strategy, part-wellness boost–IKEA’s La Sieste bike fleet will comprise of sleeping capsules outfitted with IKEA furnishings, such as a mattress, cushions, sheets, duvets, curtains, pillows, and bed frame. Nappers will have the option of blacking out their IKEA La Sieste capsule with heavy curtains or leaving the curtains pulled back for a brief, 30-minute micro-tour of the avenues in Paris.

When the itch for a nap comes, don’t yawn it away–take a trip around Paris in one of IKEA’s La Sieste sleeping capsules. Nappers will only have to post to their socials by mentioning @IKEAfrance on Instagram or tweeting @IKEA_france on Twitter with the hashtag #lasiesteIKEA. From there, a cyclist will slide into your DMs and confirm your nap before picking you up to catch some Zs.

Designer: IKEA

La Sieste will hit the streets of Paris on August 30 where they’ll remain until September 3.

Nappers will Catch be limited to 30-minute sleeping journeys.

Catch some Zs by tweeting @IKEA_france or mentioning @IKEAfrance on Instagram.