The best smart displays you can buy

Smart displays have evolved quite a bit since the initial debut of Amazon’s first Echo Show back in 2017. In fact, the category didn’t really come into its own until Google joined the fray with its own line of hardware about a year later. Now, both of these companies are essentially dominating the smart display landscape, with each offering their own take on a smart assistant with a screen.

It’s that screen that makes smart displays so much more useful than smart speakers. Rather than just having a voice recite the current weather report, for example, you can see a five-day forecast as well. The same goes for when you ask about your shopping list or calendar; it's simply easier to see the whole list or your day's appointments at a glance.

Plus, displays offer other benefits that speakers can't, like watching videos or checking your webcam to see who's at your front door. They're especially handy in the kitchen, where you can use them for step-by-step cooking instructions. And, thanks to touchscreens, you can often navigate through functions and settings a lot faster than using your voice.

Amazon vs. Google

The first question you should ask is whether you'd rather be in Amazon's ecosystem or Google's. If you have a lot of Google products in your home, like Nest thermostats or Nest cams, then a Google-powered model makes more sense. If you have Amazon products, like a Fire TV Stick or a Ring cam, Amazon would obviously be a better choice. Of course, it's perfectly acceptable to have products from competing companies in the same home, but just realize they might not work seamlessly with each other.

Aside from that, the two systems also offer some unique features. Google, for example, works best if you have an existing Google account and use services like Calendar and Photos. In fact, we especially love Google smart displays because they work well as digital photo frames. You can set it up to automatically pull in pictures of friends and family from your Google Photos library, and the algorithm is smart enough to use what it thinks are the best shots — so less chance of blurry photos or images of your eyes half-closed showing up, for example.

It might seem like a minor point, but seeing as the display is on standby 90 percent of the time, its secondary function as a digital photo frame is very welcome. All Google smart displays also support YouTube and YouTube TV, step-by-step cooking instructions and all of the usual benefits of Google Assistant, like weather reports. As with Assistant on the phone, it also has voice recognition, so only you can see your calendar appointments and not others.

Amazon's smart displays, on the other hand, are slightly different. Instead of YouTube, they offer some alternative video streaming options, including Amazon Prime, NBC and Hulu. They also come with two browsers (Silk and Firefox), which you can use to search the web or watch YouTube videos – a handy enough workaround given the lack of a dedicated app.

Amazon devices offer step-by-step cooking instructions as well, thanks to collaborations with sources like SideChef and AllRecipes. In fact, the cooking instructions sometimes include short video clips. But although you can use Amazon's displays as digital photo frames, the process is not quite as intuitive as Google’s, and Amazon doesn’t have anything comparable to Google’s photo-sorting algorithm.

The best smart displays

Smart displays come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and some are better suited to certain rooms in the home than others. So while we do have some favorite all-around picks, we've also compiled a list of smart displays that would suit specific use cases as well.

The best Google smart display: Google Nest Hub

Google Nest Hub

We at Engadget tend to prefer Google smart displays because most people are likely already entrenched in the Google ecosystem due to the ubiquity of Google services like Gmail, Calendar and so forth. We also tend to find Google Assistant to be a little smarter than Alexa, especially when bringing up answers from the web. As mentioned earlier, we also really like the tie-in with Google Photos and the smart photo-sorting algorithm.

Our favorite smart display overall is Google's latest Nest Hub. Its 7-inch size is a better fit in more rooms, and its unobtrusive design combined with its soft fabric exterior blends nicely into your existing home decor. It does everything we think most people would want in a smart display, like YouTube videos, step-by-step cooking instructions, smart home controls and the ability to check in on your Nest cams if you have any.

In fact, the Nest Hub is especially useful if you have a Nest video doorbell, as the camera view of who’s at the front door will show up on the screen. An ambient light sensor helps to detect the light and color temperature of the environment and adjusts the screen to match. Plus, if you choose, it can help track your sleep patterns if placed next to your bed.

Another feature of the Nest Hub is actually a lack of one: It doesn't have a camera. That gives it that additional layer of privacy that many people covet, and it's also a lot more suitable for personal spaces like the bedroom. Sure, you could also cover up a camera with a shutter, but with the Nest Hub you don't have to remember to do that.

Buy Nest Hub at Walmart - $100

Runner up: Google Nest Hub Max

Google Nest Hub Max

If you like Google but you miss having a camera for video calls, or you just prefer a bigger screen, consider the Google Nest Hub Max. At 10 inches instead of seven, it works a lot better for watching videos from YouTube and YouTube TV. It's especially useful in the kitchen, where it functions as a kind of portable television, and you can see more of those step-by-step cooking instructions at a glance. The bigger display also means a larger photo frame, which you may prefer.

As mentioned, the Nest Hub Max adds a camera to the mix. It doesn't have a physical shutter, which is a concern, but you can shut it off with an electronic switch. You can use the camera for video calls with Google's Duo service as well as Zoom, and it can also function as a Nest Cam to help you keep an eye on your house when you're away. Another benefit of the camera is the addition of Face Match facial recognition for authentication purposes, which we found to be a little more accurate than just using Voice Match.

Last but not least, the Nest Hub Max's camera adds a unique gestures feature that lets you play and pause media simply by holding up your hand to the screen. It's not entirely necessary, but it's potentially useful if you're in a noisy environment and just want the music to stop without having to shout over everyone. Or perhaps you have messy hands while cooking and don’t want to dirty up the display.

Buy Nest Hub Max at Walmart - $170

The best Amazon smart display: Amazon Echo Show 8

Amazon Echo Show 8
Amazon

Our favorite Amazon smart display is the second-gen Echo Show 8. Its 8-inch screen is just right; it doesn’t take up as much space as the Echo Show 10, but it’s also more suitable for watching videos than the tiny Echo Show 5. Like other Amazon smart displays, it has a built-in camera, but there is a physical camera cover to help alleviate privacy concerns.

As such, the Echo Show 8 is a compelling choice if you want the option of using your smart display for video calls. Not only is the camera quality fantastic, but the Show 8 has a feature that automatically frames your face and follows your movements during video calls. It’s useful if you want to move around as you’re chatting, or if you have rambunctious children and pets running around the house and you want to involve them in the conversation. You can use the Echo Show 8 to make calls between other Echo Show displays, or through Skype or Zoom.

As with the other smart displays, the Echo Show 8 also works as a digital photo frame and can be used to keep up with the news, check the weather and control smart home devices. If you want to use your smart display to play music, we also really like the Echo Show 8’s audio quality on account of its deep bass and rich tone.

Buy Echo Show 8 at Amazon - $130

Runner up: Amazon Echo Show 5

Amazon Echo Show 5 smart speaker
Nicole Lee / Engadget

At only 5.5 inches wide, the Echo Show 5 is one of the smallest smart displays on the market, and as a result, will work nicely on a desk or a nightstand. In fact, one of the reasons we like the Echo Show 5 so much is that it doubles as a stellar smart alarm clock. It has an ambient light sensor that adjusts the screen's brightness automatically; a tap-to-snooze function so you can whack the top of it for a few extra minutes of shut-eye; plus a sunrise alarm that slowly brightens the screen to wake you up gently.

The Echo Show 5 does have a camera, which might make you a touch queasy if you are privacy conscious – especially if this is supposed to sit by your bedside. Still, it does have a physical camera cover, which can help ease any fears.

Buy Echo Show 5 at Amazon - $85

The best smart clocks

Lenovo Smart Clock

Perhaps a smart display doesn't appeal to you because you don't care about watching videos on it. But maybe the idea of a smarter alarm clock like the Echo Show 5 intrigues you. In that case, I’d recommend the 4-inch Lenovo Smart Clock 2, which isn't a full-fledged smart display because you can't play any videos on it, but it does use Google's smart display tech, so you can use it for controlling your smart home as well as checking out your Nest Cams.

We also like it because it lacks a camera, which makes it perfect for your nightstand. It has all of the features we want in a smart alarm clock, like an ambient light sensor, that tap-to-snooze function and a sunrise alarm. Plus, the latest version can double as a night light – you can swipe down the display to enable it – and you can get an optional wireless charging base to go with it.

If the Smart Clock 2 is too advanced for you, Lenovo does offer an even simpler version called the Smart Clock Essential. It really isn’t a smart display at all – it’s really more of a smart speaker with a clock – but it does perform many of the same functions as the Smart Clock 2.

Lenovo sells the Smart Clock Essential in two different versions: One has Google Assistant, while the other is powered by Alexa. The one with Google Assistant has a built-in night light, an extra USB port for charging devices and a mic-mute button. The one with Alexa, on the other hand, is compatible with an optional docking station that can be used with accessories such as a wireless charging pad or an ambient light dock (it comes in either a sea lion or a squid shape) that can act as a night light.

Buy Lenovo Smart Clock 2 at Walmart - $70Buy Lenovo Smart Clock Essential at Walmart - $33

Top 10 furniture trends of 2022

What truly makes or breaks a home at the end of the day is the furniture that’s placed in it. The right kind of furniture design can create the essence and soul of a home. And I do feel it’s essential that the soul of our home is a reflection of our own soul. Hence picking furniture pieces that bring out the best in our homes, while authentically representing our personality is a must. There are certain types of furniture that have gained enough popularity to be deemed as trends! These furniture trends are fun, sophisticated, and functional. They add an extra spark to your home, without compromising on utility in the least. From furniture designs that transform and save space to sustainable furniture created from cardboard – these intriguing furniture trends are definitely here to stay.

1. Transforming Furniture

Finding a spacious apartment in our urban cities is a rarity! And if you’ve managed to scrounge one up, then you’re an exception and a very lucky one that is! Because let’s be honest, our modern apartments can be pretty cramped. Space constraint is a major issue, and we often find ourselves squeezing through our own belongings. It’s the ultimate test of our maneuvering skills. However, transforming furniture designs are an ingenious solution to this issue of space restraints.

Sustainable furniture design studio Ori adds a WFH apparatus called the Cloud Bed to the mix, merging an office and desk setup with a cantilevered lofted bed that descends to the floor to really hone in the mutability of working from home. In its initial form, the Cloud Bed features a working desk and table beneath a lofted bed. Built for hospitality interiors and personal spaces, this space-saving work from home solution was designed to cover a small footprint inside the home. UL certified to ensure the bed remains lofted and close to the ceiling during working hours, the desk area folds into itself, merging with the floor as the bed descends from its raised position. While it might be tempting to hop up to the top of the bunk bed and sleep from such a high height, the Cloud Bed, Table Edition comes equipped with an internal mechanism that lowers the bed to the floor once the workday is done. With the push of a button, the mattress and wooden bed frame lower down from its elevated post in time with the desk folding inwards toward the floor.

2. Multifunctional Furniture

There’s just something about a multifunctional piece of furniture that ticks all the checkboxes for me! Imagine a product that’s been designed to work as a clothing rack and a treadmill?! Or a side table that transforms into a chair! Space-saving goals much? That’s the magic of a multifunctional furniture design. It looks like a single product, but functions as more than one! They’re a smart option for our modern urban homes, which tend to be pretty cramped, hence adding multiple bulky and cumbersome furniture designs to them isn’t really an option. But multifunctional pieces that serve a variety of purposes, and solve a bunch of unique problems can be a lifesaver in such situations.

Inspired by the blurring of work and play in WFH spaces, Juwon Kim, Jiwon Song, and Eunsang Lee framed Layout with a translucent, corrugated exterior finish that immediately catches the eye. Wrapped in sea green, the Layout desk is modular by design to incorporate a plethora of different work and entertainment features. The Layout desk is topped off with an upper cover that’s designed to conceal the workspace after the workday’s done.

3. Sustainable Furniture

In 2022, we cannot ignore the needs of our planet anymore, we need to take the environment into consideration, and what better way to start doing that than from our own homes? Sustainable furniture is taking the design industry by storm, they’re a step towards making our homes and our daily lives more eco-friendly and sustainable. They’re an attempt to cast aside toxic materials, and instead, add furniture designs to our home that won’t rot away on Earth for years once we’re done with them.

Rattan is an eco-friendly natural material that is usually used in the creation of baskets or furniture, especially chairs. It is sustainable and resilient which makes it an exceptional wood that renews in just 5-7 years. Designers love rattan for creating furniture because the manufacturing is low-tech and the production process usually involves crafting by hand or using facilities that do not negatively impact the environment. Rattan is also an easy material to mold physically and creatively to fit your idea, it accepts paints and it can be worked into many styles. Moreover, the inner core can be separated and worked into wicker – talk about reducing waste! This stool explores the malleability of rattan as a material in furniture design.

4. Smart Furniture

As pleasing as aesthetic and visually intriguing furniture designs can be, people are now shifting towards furniture designs that are more focused on function and utility (that simply put make our lives a whole lot easier) and one such interesting genre is Smart Furniture! Tech-enhanced furniture is a whole new ballgame, catering to our multiple needs, and making our daily lives more comfortable.

The Hariana Tech Smart Ultimate Bed is one such example. It was designed to have everything you will need to relax within your bed frame. It has an integrated reclining massage chair with a remote, a built-in Bluetooth speaker, a bookshelf, a reading lamp, an air cleaning system, an area to plug in and charges your devices, a foot-stool that opens up for extra storage, and a pop-up desk for the ultimate WFH setup, Netflix marathon or cozy reading hours. The sound system also features an SD card slot, an auxiliary port, and a USB port.

5. Pet-friendly Furniture

Ensuring your pet feels safe, secure, and comfortable at home is every pet owner’s priority. We want to make sure they always feel loved and truly at home! It’s important to create an environment where they feel completely safe to let their guard down, while also managing to stay active and playful. And, pet-friendly furniture designs are one way to help your pet feel completely at home! It allows them to truly integrate and feel at one with your living space.

The Playground is a doghouse that also alternates as a modular sofa! The various modules of the sofa can be arranged creating not only different sofa designs but also fun spaces wherein your doggo can hop, bounce, and play about! The wooden doghouse on one side of the furniture piece seems super comfy and adorable! A little hole on its roof, allows your dog to pop his head out of the doghouse, and connect/interact with you while you lounge about on the sofa. It’s the perfect way to spend quality time! Xiao designed Playground, especially for millennial pet owners. The designer kept in mind that the homes of millennials often have space constraints, and nor do they have much free time on their hand. Hence, Playground is extremely easy to put together, and will not occupy much space in our modern-day cramped apartments. Since Playground was created for young target customers, Xiao tried to give it a trendy and cool appearance! Bright colors, minimal woodwork, and a little plant give the furniture design a modern appeal.

6. Floating Beds

The most important and sacred space in our home is our bedroom! It’s our happy place, a space where we can simply sprawl on our bed and de-stress after a long day of adulting. I believe doing up your bedroom in the right manner is extremely essential to a peaceful mindset, and of course, the core focus on any bedroom is its bed. Floating beds have somehow crept into a lot of bedrooms these days. These beds quite literally float above the floor of the room, creating an open and airy effect, and making the bedroom seem much more spacious than it actually is.

Designed by Anna Kireeva, this bedroom in a house called ‘In The Woods’, is truly placed right in the middle of a forest! A floating bed is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, that provide access to the woods around it, creating a space that feels large and open.

7. Flat-packed Furniture

Flat-packed designs are really quite intriguing! They’re portable, easy to put together and occupy minimum space. And, this innovative technology is now being introduced to almost all kinds of product designs…including furniture! From foldable chairs to pet houses, there’s nothing that cannot be flat-packed. These designs, not only rate high on space efficiency, but also eliminate the usage of heavier space-consuming designs. They are definitely functionally and ergonomically beneficial, but they also possess minimal and clean aesthetics, that allow them to harmoniously blend with any living space. Flat-packed furniture is also a major boon when you’re moving houses. You can easily ship all your furniture from one home to another, without having to do any heavy lifting and carrying. Flat-packed furniture designs are truly the future!

In the unfolded position, FLUP works like a conventional mat or rug on which we can sit or step without interrupting the movement of people through the space. It transforms from plane to volume, from floor to space while changing the function with its shape. In the folded position, it works as a piece of minimal furniture – it can be used as a pouf, an auxiliary seat, a footrest, a nightstand, etc. It is a perfect example of space-saving furniture. What makes it better is that there is no assembly required, it is a singular element that transforms with folds into another object like origami.

8. Minimal Furniture

I absolutely love minimal furniture designs! A subtle and simple piece of furniture can truly complete a room. It can be the final piece that makes a space come full circle, building a comfortable and cohesive haven, rather than a random area. Furniture pieces make or break a home, they add to the essence or soul of a home, hence one needs to be extremely picky while choosing a furniture design. The design should be a reflection of you, and what you want your home to be. When you place a piece of furniture in a room, it should instantly integrate with the space, creating a wholesome and organic environment. And I believe minimal furniture designs do exactly that!

The Piano desk gives that traditional piano design a nod by incorporating it into your familiar wooden desk with some additional inspiration from the Standard chair by Jean Prouvé that elevates the minimal piece. The Piano desk created so the designer could experiment with a hybrid material selection and play with interesting visual contrasts. On the one hand, we have metal which is a cold material that is beautifully balanced by the warmer wood. On the other hand, the same metal which allows for a slimmer silhouette is given the sturdiness with the addition of wood. The key factor in the briefing was to design a product with a democratic approach. That is how the minimal desk without any complex production processes was born while still featuring a small design element that other minimal desks didn’t have – the dipped shelf!

9. Furniture with Hidden Details

Designed with extreme attention to detail, overflowing with love and care, and not only aesthetically but functionally pleasing, furniture designs with hidden details are an invaluable addition to your living space, making you feel truly at home. These furniture designs not only feel like pieces of art but also touch your heart. Once you settle on to them, or place your favorite book upon them, or simply brush past them, you instantly feel “Ah, I’m home!”

Designed by Casey Johnson Studio, the Billow Desk is a majestic wooden desk. Its most intriguing detail would be the shelving space, below the tabletop, which is billowed out from the front. It’s a storage unit that instantly calls for attention, and is at a distinction from the usual storage designs.

10. Cardboard Furniture

We always associate furniture with being built from traditional materials such as metal, wood, or plastic. And, although these materials create fantastic products, I do wonder if they are the most sustainable and efficient option out there. A material that furniture designers have been recently venturing into is…cardboard. Cardboard is great for building sustainable furniture, as these designs tend to leave a minimal carbon footprint, and are recyclable and biodegradable as well! Not to mention product designs crafted from cardboard tend to be light, portable, and also easy to assemble.

Every piece of furniture that Kibardin makes is one of a kind, there is no mold and he shapes them all himself. We are now moving towards a sustainable lifestyle but Kibardin has been doing this for over 25 years – he has successfully recycled 2000 pounds of cardboard which is equivalent to saving 17 trees into sustainable furniture. To put it into perspective, 17 trees absorb 250 pounds of carbon dioxide each year and we need to ramp up the materials we use in design so that they serve a functional purpose while also contributing to slowing down the climate crisis. Using sustainable construction materials like paper and turning it into furniture that is stylish, modern, and eco-conscious is the future of long-lasting interior design.

The post Top 10 furniture trends of 2022 first appeared on Yanko Design.

This sustainable forest complex absorbs CO2 and produces oxygen to mitigate the effects of urbanization!

Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex, comprised of five sustainable green towers, was built to mitigate the effects of urbanization and fight for the environmental survival of our cities.

As our cities become increasingly popular destinations for younger generations, the need to introduce sustainable and biophilic architecture has never felt more urgent. As we face urban expansion and densification, architects are taking initiative to ensure the environmental survival of our contemporary cities. Italian architect Stefano Boeri has found promise in vertical city forest complexes, a form of biophilic architecture that incorporates teeming greenery into the very structure of residential buildings. Easyhome Huanggang Vertical Forest City Complex is Boeri’s latest sustainable undertaking, a forest complex in Huanggang, Hubei, China “intended to create a completely innovative green space for the city.”

Bounded by three streets, Easyhome covers 4.54 hectares and comprises five towers, each of which connects with an open, public space. 404 different trees fill out the layout of Easyhome, absorbing 22 tons of carbon dioxide and producing 11 tons of oxygen over the span of a year. Helping to mitigate smog and produce oxygen, the trees incorporated into Easyhome also increase biodiversity by attracting new bird and insect species. 4,620 shrubs and 2,408 square meters of grass, flowers, and climbing plants are also spread throughout Easyhome’s structure in addition to the complex’s tree species.

Easyhome’s rhythmic, modular facade also lends itself to increased biodiversity by mimicking the incongruent, wild look of nature. Rising 80 meters in height, two of the five towers are residential buildings, while the other towers remain in use as hotels and large commercial spaces. As Boeri is no stranger to vertical green complexes, he has worked on many urban forestry projects. Everywhere, from Milan to Cairo, Boeri has designed forest complexes to help mitigate the harmful effects of urbanization. However, Easyhome is a new type of vertical forest.

Describing the building’s difference in his own words, Boeri writes, “the floors have cantilevered elements that interrupt the regularity of the building and create a continuous ever-changing movement, accentuated by the presence of trees and shrubs selected from local species.” In addition to the building’s undulating facades and rugged appeal, Easyhome implements a combination of open-air balconies and closed-off terraces to blue the transitional boundary between nature and human-centered environments. This incongruent configuartion of the building’s exterior also allows the greenery to grow freely in height and foliage, the way it would in natural forests.

Designer: Stefano Boeri Architetti

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These geodesic domes built from bioceramics are a form of regenerative architecture

Geoship is a home building cooperative committed to innovative construction methods that use bioceramics to produce geodesic domes.

As environmental needs continue to influence the trajectory of modern architecture and design, the process of building homes continues to evolve. Vertical forest complexes punctuate city skylines with teeming gardens and prefabricated construction systems are turning into the preferred building method for many architects.

Enter regenerative architecture, a branch of construction that aims to reverse the toll that home building takes on nature, while also producing a net-positive impact on the environment. Geoship, a homebuilding cooperative, uses regenerative building methods for their collection of bioceramic, geodesic domes to carve a new path towards environmentally responsible construction.

Inspired by “the geometry of life,” Geoship’s construction system is defined by the dome’s geodesic shape, chosen for its proximity to several aspects of life, from molecules to the force of gravity itself. Each geodesic dome is also built from nature’s composite, a bioceramic material that forms using, “the same chemical bonding occurs in bones, seashells, and even the ancient pyramids of Giza.”

From the outside of the domes to their insulated interior spaces, Geoship applied a seamless construction process for each material to naturally blend into each other. The building process behind the geodesic domes is affordable and highly efficient to further Geoship’s green initiative.

Supported by a system of struts that outline the dome’s geodesic shape, exterior panels and insulated window frames clad the dome’s frame with weather-resistant and mold-proof facades. Each module that comprises the dome’s structure is connected by a hexagonal hub to ensure secure fastening.

Each module of the geodesic dome is comprised of ceramic crystals that are molded into a triangular shape. Then, the modules are pieced together to form the dome’s geodesic shape.

During the construction process, the carbon required to construct geodesic domes and the modules is far less when compared to traditional home building methods that use sandstone or even passive solar energy.

Amounting to a fire and flood-proof, hurricane and earthquake-resistant home dwelling, the regenerative construction process behind Geoship is also sustainable. Generating zero waste, less CO2 emissions, and a recyclable structure, Geoship’s domes have a 500-year life and can be installed within a very short time frame.

Designed to produce home structures that will remain in place for centuries, Geoship’s regenerative building process is backed by materials science with aim of creating micro-factory and village design platforms to prove the innovative building method’s feasibility.

Designer: Geoship

Geoship’s collection of geodesic homes are constructed using bioceramic building material.

A system of internal struts support the exterior facades of each geodesic dome. 

Geoship also conceptualized their geodesic domes in different colors to appeal to different uses. 

The geodesic domes form Geoship come in an array of different sizes, from small studios to larger family homes.

Ideated as a village of geodesic domes, Geoship will progress their home building system to clusters of domes to prove the system’s large-scale feasibility. 

The post These geodesic domes built from bioceramics are a form of regenerative architecture first appeared on Yanko Design.

Cleaning Appliances designed to spruce up your home right in time for the Chinese New Year

Today, millions of people all around the world, began celebrating the Chinese New Year, which marks the transition from the Year of the Ox to the Year of the Tiger. Also deemed, the Lunar New Year, the celebrations for this day usually involve catching up with family and friends, bursting firecrackers, watching traditional dances, drooling over exquisite feasts, and of course, decluttering and cleaning up your home in preparation for a year of whole new blessings and victories! And a couple of innovative and unique home appliances can really help you out with this! From a space-saving vacuum cleaner to an air purifier designed in the form of a turntable – these handy cleaning appliances are all you need to Marie Kondo your house and welcome the Year of the Tiger in the tidiest manner possible. Happy cleaning!

1. H5

H5 is a multifunctional vacuum cleaner designed for small spaces that can break down into four parts that fit into a compact charging bin for easy storage. H5 keeps an overall slim build when assembled and when disassembled so it doesn’t take up too much space in storage. When disassembled, H5 breaks down into four parts and fits into one charging case that can easily slip away behind any table or into the closet to free up floor space. When users would like to use the vacuum, putting H5 together comes just as easily as putting together any other vacuum. The main pipe connects via telescopic tubing where the vacuum head also easily attaches.

2. The Aether

Combining the goodness of air purification and music with an aesthetically pleasing form factor, designer Hyunbin Yang has conceived the AETHER. This Bluetooth speaker and air purifier in the shape of a modern turntable can be a centerpiece of disguise no matter where you choose to place it at home. The speaker is controlled remotely by a smartphone or smart device to play any music you like, well before you set foot into the house. So, the time you have can be spent on other tasks, while the mood of the house is already set. The biggest advantage that the AETHER has over the other air purifiers we have seen in our time is the convenience with which the air filters can be swapped. Here changing the filter is as easy as replacing a vinyl on the turntable.

3. The Alpha Pillow 2

The Alpha Pillow 2’s design starts with a bamboo-charcoal-infused foam mass, which apart from providing the benefits of memory foam, also uses activated carbon to neutralize microorganisms and toxins. The carbon-infused foam does a pretty standup job of keeping your pillow free of germs and microorganisms, the Alpha Pillow’s silver-fabric cover forms the first line of defense, destroying bacteria, viruses, and molds before they can even propagate. The pillow itself comes with a bamboo fabric cover, followed by a unique fabric made from silver fibers that are lab-tested to be incredibly efficient at self-sanitizing the pillow.

4. The Narwal T10

The Narwal T10 will immediately strike one as something so different from your usual robot vac, even the ones with 2-in-1 mopping and vacuuming functions. For one, both its base and the robot itself are coated in white, a color that’s most often associated with cleanliness and sanitation. It also gives off a better minimalist vibe, though that may come at the expense of dirt and stains being more visible on the product’s surface. The T10’s base station is also considerably larger and bulkier than other robot vacuums, but that is both intentional as well as an illusion. Robot cleaners with narrower stations actually have larger bases for the robot to stand on, taking up almost the same amount of floor space anyway. With Narwal’s design, the robot goes inside the station completely and hides any part that humans or pets can trip on. Additionally, the larger size is necessary to support the T10’s mopping functions, which we’ll get to later.

5. The Giddel Toilet Cleaning Robot Kit

The Giddel Toilet Cleaning Robot Kit is all you need to maintain a super clean toilet! The robot is perfect for cleaning those hard-to-reach spots in your toilet. You just need to remove the robot from its charging station and connect it to the mounting bracket. Add some toilet bowl cleaner to the bowl, and use Giddel to systematically scrub the rim, the bowl, the space under the bowl, and down the exit. Giddel’s telescopic arm can fit into toilets of all sizes, both small or large, and clean them effectively. Giddel’s circular and wavy motion ensures that it covers every inch of the toilet!

6. Elle

Inspired by the bathing rituals of elephants in the wild, Stalin Jr. designed Elle’s silhouette to resemble the shape of an elephant’s rump. Scaled down from the size of an actual elephant’s rump to around the same size as an air dryer, Elle is compact enough to fit right on any kitchen countertop. Elle functions as the go-to appliance in between meals, when there aren’t enough dirty dishes to use the full-size dishwasher, but you still want to keep the sink free of dirty dishes. Equipped with all of the functions needed for a thorough cleaning, Elle comes with a touch-automated control panel and wall-mountable water inlet valve.

7. Cork Vaccum Cleaner

This intriguing concept for a vacuum cleaner is not only multipurpose in design, it is also sustainable in construction. The storage section of the vac is made from cork, which is biodegradable and has a warm ambiance to it. The vacuum pipes and other parts are designed in a manner to be stored within the cork shell that then neatly covers using a lid. The possibility of concealing the entire appliance from sight saves valuable space at home and leaves the vacuum to still be used in the open with a different purpose.

8. WITS Collection

ROLL, for example, looks like a simple fabric-covered stool, though the seam at the top clearly indicates that it can be opened. Rather than being a hidden container, however, it can accommodate a detachable UV light module that can clean larger objects like toys, books, or even bags. It’s something handy to have around the house, especially during these days when people tend to worry a lot about indoor sanitation. FLOAT definitely has a simple cabinet feel to it, one that’s designed to stand by your bed for easy access to your things. However, a portion of its top surface actually acts as a wireless charging area for your phone so you won’t have to worry about forgetting to plug your phone in every night. Pull the top drawer, however, and you’ll be greeted by a soft LED light that could save you a lot of pain at night.

9. The Everloop Dish Brush

With the Everloop dish brush’s design, you can continue to maximize the functionality of your product while reducing waste. The head of the brush has a concave lid mechanism that compresses the bristles against the inner part of the brush. The bristles are snapped into place and you can clean effortlessly. This concavity also works as a soap container and dosifier while you clean your tableware. To replace bristles, use any flat piece from your kitchen as a lever to open it and replace it with a new set of bristles. The body of the brush is made from recycled plastic collected from discarded accessories and the bristles are made from natural fibers (bamboo, castor beans, etc).

10. The Cat Person Litter Box

With Cat Person, Granneberg set out to design a litter box that appears like a piece of furniture to blend in with other interior design elements. To achieve this, Granneberg outfitted the Cat Person litter box with a wooden top lid that gives it the same appeal as a small side table. Ensuring casts enjoy enough airflow and light while taking care of business, Granneberg punctuated the wooden top lid with circular cutouts, creating a ventilated and well-lit interior space. Granneberg also designed the litter box with larger-than-average dimensions to allow bigger cats to have enough room to sit and turn around with comfort. An ergonomic and durable scooper accompanies the litter box that comes with a handy storing mechanism to avoid the eyesore of litter dropping to the floor.

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This portable electric pot was designed to cook soup while camping!

This portable electric pot is conceptualized for cooking soups and stews while camping.

You don’t normally think ‘soup’ when it comes to camping food, but it sure sounds like the move. Cozying up in front of the fire pit with a hot bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold, windy evening sounds a lot more satisfying than being next to the fire on the same night with a hot dog in hand.

Designer: Yunsoo Choi

Since camping restricts many of the different modes of cooking typically available to us, the menu is usually pretty limited too. Hoping to expand the culinary experience of camping, industrial designer Yunsoo Choi conceptualized an electric pot for camping that can even be used to make soup.

Characterized by its triangular shape, Choi’s electric pot takes on the same form as tripods and table lamps that have similar silhouettes. While its shape is familiar, its operation slightly differs to be suitable for cooking stews and soups. Camping accessories and cookware keep a compact build to assume ultimate portability and Choi’s electric pot is no different. Through a telescopic layering system, the different modules of Choi’s electric pot can fit into one another and be carried by a raised, removable handlebar.

When cooking soup, campers can use the appliance’s main basin to combine all of their ingredients. Just around the basin’s front panel, a timer and temperature control interface allows users to adjust the cooking conditions of each stew and soup according to its recipe. An additional light attachment is also integrated into the build of Choi’s electric pot, allowing for late-night cooking to soothe those munchies.

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Top 10 interior design trends of 2022

Our home is our safe haven, the abode we spent the majority of our time in, and where we unwind after a long day of battling against the world. Homes are also an expression of our personal style, taste, and preferences. It’s true you can understand a lot about a person simply by entering their home! With the pandemic driving most of us indoors, we truly began to take a deeper look at our living spaces and started investing in them even further. Creating a space that is calm, optimistic, and serene in a world being run over by a deadly virus became integral for our mental and physical well-being. And this has led to a bunch of interior design trends that can be found in homes all over the world. Playful and sophisticated – these trends vary from Japandi-inspired interiors to homes dominated by sustainable products and furniture. We’ve curated the top 10 interior design trends of 2022 for you. Here’s hoping you integrate them into your sweet home!

1. Japandi

An amalgamation of the words Japanese and Scandinavian, Japandi is an interior design trend that marries Japanese and Scandinavian aesthetics. It is the artful blending of both Japanese and Scandinavian design. Japanese minimalism and Scandinavian functionality are merged together to create a style that makes a space minimal without it being cold. Japandi-style spaces are warm, neutral, and comforting, and are smartly integrated with natural materials, craftsmanship, as well as calming color palettes. Designed by Norm Architects, Archipelago Home is a holiday home that embodies both Scandinavian and Japanese design philosophies. A neutral theme of creams, greys, and whites is maintained throughout the home, with light wood furniture providing the ultimate Japandi finishing touch.

2. All-black interiors

There’s something about the color black that is simply so mysterious and powerful. Most often people associate black with having a negative connotation, but there is definitely an undeniable allure to this strong color. When used correctly and tastefully in interiors, black can radiate a very modern and minimal feel, creating an aesthetic that instantly leaves you feeling calm and balanced. Maxiup House visualized by Stephen Tsymbaliuk is the perfect balance of naturally brown elements with modern black fittings. This design also highlights that dark interior designs can be naturally lit up. The green accent plants are given emphasis by using subtle highlights, creating a pop of color within the earthy tones.

3. Indoor Gardens

Gardening is an extremely therapeutic activity, and though I may not engage in it all the time, the few times that I have, I found it really delightful and soothing. Growing, tending to, and being surrounded by plants is intensely satisfying, all your worries slowly fade away, and you are simply enthralled by nature. However, not everyone has access to outdoor gardens, especially with the pandemic locking up most of us in our homes. Indoor gardens are a modern solution that works perfectly in our modern homes, and an interior trend that has been growing extremely popular. The Eva hydroponic fixture offers neglectful plant owners a no-effort solution in which the plant cares for itself – by merging an indoor garden with an aquarium! The Eva planter creates an environment in which the plants can survive without human help.

4. Floating Beds

The most important and sacred space in our home is our bedroom! It’s our happy place, a space where we can simply sprawl on our bed and de-stress after a long day of adulting. I believe doing up your bedroom in the right manner is extremely essential to a peaceful mindset, and of course, the core focus on any bedroom is its bed. Floating beds have somehow crept into a lot of bedrooms these days. These beds quite literally float above the floor of the room, creating an open and airy effect, and making the bedroom seem much more spacious than it actually is. Designed by Anna Kireeva, this bedroom in a house called ‘In The Woods’, is truly placed right in the middle of a forest! A floating bed is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, that provide access to the woods around it, creating a space that feels large and open.

5. Smart Furniture

As pleasing as aesthetic and visually intriguing furniture designs can be, people are now shifting towards furniture designs that are more focused on function and utility (that simply put make our lives a whole lot easier) and one such interesting genre is Smart Furniture! Tech-enhanced furniture is a whole new ballgame, catering to our multiple needs, and making our daily lives more comfortable.The Hariana Tech Smart Ultimate Bed is one such example. It was designed to have everything you will need to relax within your bed frame. It has an integrated reclining massage chair with a remote, a built-in Bluetooth speaker, a bookshelf, a reading lamp, an air cleaning system, an area to plug in and charges your devices, a foot-stool that opens up for extra storage, and a pop-up desk for the ultimate WFH setup, Netflix marathon or cozy reading hours. The sound system also features an SD card slot, an auxiliary port, and a USB port.

6. Jazzy Bathrooms

Bathrooms are often ignored, but in all honesty, they shouldn’t. They’re the little alcoves we spend a substantial amount of our time in, carrying out our personal activities. And it’s probably the only time we’re ever truly alone! Instead of leaving our bathrooms to fend for themselves, it might be a good idea to transform them into intimate de-stressing zones. Adding beautiful prints and eye-catching colors to our bathrooms is one way of creating a space that instantly lifts up your mood! When in doubt, just throw in some red! Designed by ASH NYC, the bathrooms at The Siren Hotel in Detroit showcase beautiful red terrazzo walls speckled with flecks of black, white, and peach. Add some monochrome floor tiles and a patterned marble stool to the mix, and this bathroom could be considered a work of art! Don’t forget to notice the stunning blue terrazzo sink as well.

7. Tiny Kitchens

Tiny homes seem to have taken over, so why shouldn’t tiny kitchens be a viable option as well? I mean, our modern-day cramped homes really don’t have sufficient space for sprawling, over-the-top kitchens! What they need are well-equipped kitchens that take up minimum space, without compromising on functionality in the least. Designed by Begüm Şenel, this tiny kitchen completely tops my list! It’s minimal, modern, and extremely elegant! The main kitchen unit is a clean white, and it comprises everything you would need – from a sink to a dishwasher, to a stovetop. The dining table is a compact space, that has been merged with the rest of the tiny kitchen. Barstools with blood orange cushions make for a nifty and space-saving seating option. Not to mention I love the hint of a minty greyish-green color, which is an interesting contrast against the sleek all-white kitchen!

8. Sustainable Furniture

Our unhealthy practices and way of living are truly harmful to the environment and have been slowly leading to its deterioration. And the world has been changing (for the worse) because of this. Hence, it is extremely important to live sustainably and consciously and to take care of the environment. Integrating sustainability into our day-to-day lives has become crucial! And we can do this in various ways. Adding sustainable furniture to our living space is one such solution. Folding stools are nothing new, but few actually try to hide the fact that people are carrying something meant to be sat on. In contrast, the TAKEoSEAT flattens down to something that looks like a large portfolio, or at least a stylish bag made of felt. You won’t look odd carrying it around, nor would the seat look out of place in an office space. Designer KRETHO positions this portable stool as a perfect part of an agile arsenal, allowing people to just pick up their seats and move around as needed. No more rearranging furniture or sweating over a heavy chair.

9. LEGO Homeware

I love LEGO! There’s something so fun, cheerful, and quirky about LEGO. I wouldn’t mind living in a LEGO home if I could. Though that may not be possible, I can still add a touch of LEGO in my home with LEGO GROUP’s first-ever collection of wooden home accessories! LEGO recently teamed up with the Danish design brand Room Copenhagen to create a warm and minimal homeware collection that includes wall hangers, picture frames, desk drawers, and book racks. The products mimick quite a few of the iconic LEGO elements – from the single stud to other easily recognizable pieces. And of course, all the items have been embellished with the iconic LEGO lettering! The full collection consists of a Wall Hanger Set (set of three), a picture frame, a book rack, two Desk Drawer options – 2×2 and 2×4.

10. Scandinavian-inspired Storage Solutions

Have you ever come across Scandinavian designs? There’s something so simply minimal, quaint, and awe-spiring about them. They manage to speak volumes without being loud or saying much. They always leave you with a warm feeling in your heart, and intense admiration for the attention to detail, and the delicate touches each design consists of. And these Scandinavian-inspired shelving designs promise to do exactly that! Modern and minimal, these shelving units are the storage solutions you’ve been looking for. Designed by Julien Renault for Cruso, the NOTES Shelves is “an invitation to play with compositions and colors”. The artfully crafted slabs of light oak slide into a steel frame, creating a clean and minimal wall-mounted shelf that provides wonderful storage space, while also allowing you to proudly display your favorite objects and artifacts. The shelves are so simple to set up, that you can do it by yourself at home, with the help of a standard tool (which is provided along with the shelving unit). The NOTES Shelves’ edges have been uniquely sanded and rounded, making them soft and smooth to touch.

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A compact, countertop-friendly dishwasher is inspired by elephant bathing rituals

Elle is a compact dishwasher shaped like an elephant that’s designed to clean the dishes used during a small family meal.

Even if you’re one of the few who enjoys doing the dishes, cleaning up after a big meal can get tiring. In a perfect world, we’d take care of the dishes as soon as we’re finished using them. But following a big meal, all we want to do is cozy up on the living room couch and enjoy the consequences of our food comas.

Designer: Stalin Jr.

Alas, the dishes still pile up in the sink and we must tend to our most human of responsibilities. To help make the chore feel a bit more approachable, industrial designer Stalin Jr. conceptualized Elle, a miniature dishwasher shaped like an elephant that scales down dishwashing to its most compact size.

Inspired by the bathing rituals of elephants in the wild, Stalin Jr. designed Elle’s silhouette to resemble the shape of an elephant’s rump. Scaled-down from the size of an actual elephant’s rump to around the same size as an air dryer, Elle is compact enough to fit right on any kitchen countertop.

In conceptualizing Elle, Stalin Jr. explored the possibilities of what a dishwasher could look like in regards to its unique shape and compact size. Primarily conceived for the nuclear family, Elle is compact enough to remain out of the way when not in use and big enough to clean all of the dishes and utensils needed for an intimate family dinner in one wash.

Elle functions as the go-to appliance in between meals, when there aren’t enough dirty dishes to use the full-size dishwasher, but you still want to keep the sink free of dirty dishes. Equipped with all of the functions needed for a thorough cleaning, Elle comes with a touch-automated control panel and wall-mountable water inlet valve.

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This cat couch features a folding mechanism that’s designed to keep living spaces fur free

Cat Couch is a foldable couch designed to be human-centered and feline-friendly for cohabitation living spaces.

Even when we buy furniture for our cats, there’s no stopping them from using the couch. Despite how much cats might prefer our living room sofas to their small bolster beds, our couches weren’t made for cats. Layers of shed fur and scratch marks have a way of making our couches feel like huge cat beds.

Designer: Tomoya Ono

Noticing the gap between cat-specific furniture and furniture designed for humans, Tomoya Ono conceptualized Cat Couch, a cat-friendly foldable couch designed for cohabitation.

Before conceptualizing Cat Couch, Ono took note that, “Many of the couches’ designs put priority on humans, while most of the cat sofas’ designs only focus on cats. There is a gap between the human lifestyle and the lifestyle of cats.”

With the aim of designing a couch that is equally designed for humans as for cats, Ono found versatility through a foldable structure. Before designing Cat Couch, Ono figured removable cushion fabric and a modular design would provide the conditions needed for easy cleaning when necessary.

Refining the design, Ono integrated wood into the build of the sofa which offered some structural rigidity that gave way to the Cat Couch’s folding mechanism. Wrapped in canvas, the final form of Cat Couch incorporates wooden lids that open and close like toilet seats.

These wooden lids help keep the cushions free from shedding fur and provide backrests for humans when positioned upright. In addition to the multifunctional wooden elements, Ono also designed Cat Couch with built-in scratch pads that provide a designated space for when the feline urge to scratch arises.

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Plant Prefab’s patented home building system uses sustainable construction methods to design affordable housing

Plant Prefab, a sustainable home construction company committed to prefabricated buildings, launched its patented Plant Building System, allowing for home construction that produces less waste and requires little to no land alteration.

Contributing to nearly 40% of the planet’s carbon greenhouse emissions, home-building generally involves the excessive use of resources, construction waste, and land alterations. As the world moves toward environmental consciousness, various industries are following suit.

Designer: Plant Prefab

In direct response to the world’s cities facing rapid urbanization and large-scale construction projects, Plant Prefab is a sustainable building company that constructs prefabricated homes from a patented Plant Building System™.

With the demand for residential homes increasing by the day, more and more architects are opting for prefabricated building methods. Prefabricated building methods, just like Plant Prefab’s Plant Building System™, allow architects to construct homes during circumstances that otherwise would not allow for construction to take place.

Explaining this in regard to a custom single-family home designed by the Brown Studio, Plant Prefab says, “Plant prefabricated the home during the late fall and early winter when on-site construction would have been nearly impossible.”

In addition to being able to construct a home during colder seasons, the construction process of prefabricated homes is contained within off-site factories, requiring fewer skilled laborers and producing far less waste from shipping and handling.

Amounting to a construction process that’s 20% to 50% faster than conventional building methods, Plant Prefab’s patented system takes on a hybrid, modular model for home building. Leaning on a modular building system, the method is adaptive by design. As the construction process continues, endless configurations can be brainstormed so that adjustments can be made as needed.

While Plant Prefab is currently committed to custom builds, the company hopes to produce around 900,000square feet of living space per year, which would amount to approximately 800 units of varying sizes. Formed as a solution to combat the impending housing crisis, Plant Prefab’s Plant Building System™ hopes to join its focus from single and multi-family units with larger-scale developments, like student-based and affordable housing.

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