This portable fridge is the perfect companion to Netflix and chill with!

Product designs have three basic categories from a user’s point of view – the purely functional design with an almost brutish exterior that we love for the solution they provide, the pro aesthetic designs that take a conventional product and revise it to a new level to trigger an emotional response in us (after all humans are visual creatures) and the rare unicorn – that merges functionality and aesthetics seamlessly to create the best design. The Baseus Personal Refridgerator concept by Jiujiu Hu certainly falls in the aesthetic category but that doesn’t stop us from loving it any lesser!

With a form factor that merges an almost android design with that of a retro TV, this portable personal refrigerator is here to serve us, literally. The heat of summer is upon us, anything that is cold or chilled is in demand. This cute robot-like design with its shiny reflective surface (truly it only needs big eyes to make us fall in love even more) and its leather strap is a way cooler alternative to the old-school icebox or coolers we lug around everywhere (can you imagine how much cooler Netflix and chill would be with this by your side?). The anthropomorphic form comes with a shelf inside, allowing you to store your items in 2 layers – a tall shelf for the drinks or even a cooling facial mist and a smaller space to store flat objects. Social distancing will be a breeze with our own portable personal fridge holding our drinks means no reason to visit the crowded shops at the local park. And for those of us in quarantine, this fridge can serve as the Wilson (Tom Hank’s friend in Cast Away) to our isolated homes.

The refrigerator gets its materials right – wood, a matte plastic exterior, leather, and glass – balancing all these traditional elements with just the right ratio. With the emotional connection that this personal refrigerator brings to the table, one thing is sure, you will not end up forgetting it anywhere you go!

Designer: Jiujiu Hu

Tiny home setups that prove why microliving will be the next big trend: Part 3

Staying indoors and sanitizing every surface of my house is an easy way to drive anyone (especially someone like me who hates clutter) nuts! At times, I often wonder how it would feel if I had fewer possessions – more meaningful perhaps but also lesser stuff to clean. It was this train of thought that had me researching the latest millennial trend to hit our lives just before COVID-19 stopped our travel plans – tiny homes. With minimalism trending at unforeseen levels, it is relatively easy to see the appeal of these small homes. Add to that the growing population, shrinking apartment sizes, and the lack of garden spaces, hitching a tiny home and driving into the sunset sounds like a pretty good idea. The collection here showcases great home designs that are portable, packable, and with their impeccable interiors – you’ll find yourself planning a tiny home for yourself in no time!

Laëtitia Dupé of Tiny House Baluchon is designed for a French couple, this new abode finds itself in the French Alps, offering great views and ample space to live in.

Measuring at 9 feet wide, 12 feet high, and 16 feet across, the Mono Cabin by  Drop Structures is literally homely. I mean literally. Shaped like the icon for a home, this pre-fab cabin comes ready to live in and can be carried and placed literally anywhere your heart desires.

Meet the Birdbox, a prefabricated shipping container-like cabin by Livit that offers one-of-a-kind escapes to lush destinations surrounded by nature. The cabins are simple, rectangular structures with huge circular and oval windows to give you a larger than life view of nature. Just like the exterior, the interior also has minimal decor which makes for a cozy space with a queen bed and a handful of chairs. The Birdboxes come in two sizes currently – the “Mini” at 10.5’ x 7.2’ x 7.2’ “Mini” and the “Medi” at 16.7’ x 7.87’ x 7.87’.” There’s also a separate “Birdbox Bathroom” which features a black tint one-way glass floor-to-ceiling window.

The daybed, living room, and kitchen in Modern Tiny Living’s Allswell model is a designer’s dream, and since it was being built for Wal-Mart’s HomeGoods brand – they spared no expense! Now if only I could find the nearest Walmart that stocks these…

The size of a bedroom, the Nolla cabin by Robin Falck is perfect for the idyllic holiday. Its design, aside from being highly characteristic, is also comfortable, and sustainable. Named after the Finnish word for zero, the Nolla cabin’s purpose is literally to give you a zero-worry, zero-emission holiday. Built with a tent-like shape, the Nolla aims at giving you the very same feeling, when sunlight creeps into its interiors through the triangular glass facade on the front. Made entirely from local pine and plywood, the Nolla doesn’t use any fasteners to hold it in place, but rather, pieces together like a massive puzzle. The cabin can be transported and assembled without the need for heavy machinery, and it comes with adjustable pedestals, giving you the freedom to set the Nolla up on any sort of terrain.

The Pacific Harbor is a tiny house built on a 30’x8.5’ triple axel Iron Eagle trailer – compact, convenient, and classy. The interiors are kept light and breezy to manifest the feeling of spaciousness. The tiny home includes a downstairs flex area that can be turned into a bedroom or home office, a sleeping loft in the back, and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen.

Danish retailer Vipp is now offering guests the opportunity to stay in a prefabricated micro dwelling in a Swedish forest. The cabin provides a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape from the open-plan living area, thanks to large sliding windows. A bedroom is tucked away in one of two chimney-like chambers protruding from the roof, with the other containing a skylight.

Nags Head, a 20 ft. tiny house based upon Modern Tiny Living’s Point model is the perfect getaway tiny house. Lots of light, lots of fresh air, and lots of opportunities for adventures!

Cabin One is described as a passionately designed home for the future and its minimalist look certainly appeals to millennials who will now be able to buy homes given that the lockdown is making them spend less on avocados (you know what I am talking about). What I love about Cabin One is that it promotes flexible micro-living through its modular build. You can customize the 25 square meters of space as per your needs – it could be a beautiful cabin for one, holiday home for two or a quirky office space that stands in between an Airbnb and WeWork (given that the future is all about working remotely, did I just come up with the next million-dollar startup?). “We have reduced the complexity of the construction industry to three important elements: comfort, quality, and user experience. We do not think in square meters, we think in features,” says Simon, Cabin One’s designer.

The Nano is the smallest tiny house built by Modern Tiny Living so far. Its trailer is only 3,3m long but the house contains all you need.

Comprising of two bedrooms this tiny home by Tiny House Baluchon is perfect for a nuclear family. Featuring wooden accents, a set of stairs in the home lead to the upper section, where a comfy bed awaits!

Inspired to take one of these houses and run away but want some more inspiration? Look at more tiny homes designs from Part 1 and Part 2 of this collection! Although we implore that you set up your home and maintain social distancing wherever you stay!

An Eco-friendly wireless fan for the island breeze and aesthetic!

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.

Designer: MMM Design Studio

rattan fan

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The solution to making flying safer and less scary post-COVID is to integrate safety with luxury

Seats on a business class ticket are dramatically safer than those in economy class. That isn’t because they were designed to be safer, it’s because they were designed around the idea of spacious luxury. James Lee’s butterfly seats explore that very idea to make flight seats safer. By isolating seats, creating partitions, and providing facilities that align with the concept of premium value addition, the Butterfly seats instantly offer a much more safe travel experience by creating dedicated spaces for passengers with lesser chances of spreading germs through interaction.

The seats come in pairs of two and are slightly offset, rather than being side by side. This immediately means you don’t have someone directly beside you, which decreases the chances of socialization. Seats even have adjustable partitions between them to separate passengers, and even have dedicated armrests so you’re never accidentally resting your arm on someone else’s place. Seats come with all the fittings needed to allow you to store your belongings and even work while flying. A dedicated laptop desk ensures you can work while flying, and there are even slots to store magazines and your own pair of in-flight headphones. For parents traveling with little children, the seats fold down to turn into a makeshift bed for youngsters, and if you’re traveling solo with nobody beside you, both the seats can be folded down and covered with a zigzag mattress so you can sleep comfortably – a feature that’s useful for people who are unwell on the journey or for red-eye flights.

It’s simple tactics like this that will help make flying safer and less fearful at the same time. With solutions like the Janus Seat, you end up creating a functioning solution, but run the risk of still dealing with an entrenched sense of fear in the passengers (besides, sitting in that middle seat becomes even less desirable). The Butterfly, however, retains the status quo, with seats that aren’t dramatically different and visors/partitions that don’t look like partitions. By masking the idea of safety using luxury as a design solution, the Butterfly makes traveling safe again while also allowing the experience to be a relaxing, valuable, and comfortable one!

The Butterfly Aircraft Seat is a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2020.

Designer: James Lee

No more opening kitchen windows with this suspended light that doubles as an air purifier !

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!

Designer: Kikang Kim

This panoramic view cabin keeps bugs out using a unique Japanese technique

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.

Designer: LUMIPOD

Social-Distancing At Work: These cubicle designs make segregated workspaces safe and stylish

No one can really tell when workspaces will open with full capacity, but we all can agree that there will be some incredibly lasting changes to offices moving forward. Automatic doors so you don’t need to touch the handle, people operating lifts so you don’t have to press buttons, and probably even ditching away with the communal coffee machine for some other contact-less alternative. Workspaces will become more safety conscious, and more impersonal, with employees having dedicated agile and versatile cubicles to suit all their needs. Keith Melbourne Studio’s envisioned how design intervention can create a new sort of stylish-yet-safe workplace with the Avion.

Currently on the shortlist for an Inde Award, the Avion is a modular workspace setup that comes with a contemporary design with soft curves, chic furniture, and a modern color palette to help make the workspace look friendly and appealing. Designed to create visual comfort so you’re more focused and relaxed at work, the cubicle systems isolate you and provide enough space to work out of, while still giving you enough of a window to step out and socialize from time to time… from a distance of course!

Designer: Keith Melbourne Studio

These pyramid-shaped Yacht communities are a millionaire’s social-distancing paradise

As society faces unforeseen struggles, and with climate-change just around the corner, these floating communities give insight into a new sort of habitat that’s up to the challenge of rising sea levels and of social distancing. Meet the Waya, a set of pyramid-shaped floating buildings that become a community on water. Designed by Lazzarini Design Studio, the Waya mimics the structures of the Mayan civilization, with a heavy reliance on pyramid-shaped forms. This shape allows structures to have a lower center of gravity and be very stable, while giving you slanted walls that are perfect for mounting solar panels to harness energy.

The Waya aren’t homes or individual yachts, they’re societies with all the elements needed for sustenance. Smaller floating structures act as personal houses, while larger ones serve the purpose of hotels and community centers. The Wayaland floating community even has entertainment and recreational zones spanning gyms, cinemas, shops, floating beach clubs, as well as greenhouses for growing produce that helps feed the people on-board. The floating architectural units are made from fiberglass, carbon fiber, and steel, and even have large underwater spaces that help extend living/storage capabilities while allowing the Wayas to easily float upright on water. Smaller Wayas come with two floors (including an underwater floor) while larger ones can go up to 10 floors in height, accommodating a host of people. Commuting between individual Waya units and to-and-from land can be done via boats, which then dock into dedicated boat-garages, while larger Waya buildings even have the capacity for a helipad or two. Deliveries between land and the Waya communities can be fulfilled using drones. The communities have the ability to slowly migrate too, allowing them to detach from a coastline whenever needed and float to an isolated location. Solar panels on each Waya building help supply the community with enough power to sustain them for long periods of time.

Shifting to a water-based society may feel like a bit of a cop-out at tackling real-world problems like climate change or pandemics, but they definitely do something interesting. By making humans migrate to water, the Waya frees up land for nature to take over, while ensuring that humans are much more mindful of their habit of pumping garbage into oceans… after all, you wouldn’t want your luxurious yacht to be trapped in sludge, garbage, and floating plastic, would you? Moreover, they even help strictly isolate communities, and more importantly take humans off the electricity grid, making them much more reliant on renewable sources of energy. The Wayaland floating community exists as a concept, but Lazzarini Design is trying to crowdfund €350,000 ($382,000) to build the smallest, basic unit to prove the entire project’s overall feasibility. In return as perks, the studio is offering backers Wayaland passports and short stays at the community’s floating hotels once the project gets successfully executed by 2022.

Designer: Lazzarini Design

A look at how architecture after COVID-19 will openly embrace and integrate the outdoors

“If we can’t go outdoors, why can’t the outdoors come to us?” It sounds like the kind of question a five-year-old would ask, but dwell a little on that thought and you start realizing it’s quite an intriguing question. In fact, it’s the design brief for ODA’s latest tower designs. These tower designs from ODA Architecture try to blur the boundaries between the outdoors and indoors… they were originally conceived as a way to alter New York’s predominantly glass-and-metal skyline by introducing an aspect of greenery into it, but in a world dealing with COVID-19, they provide a much more important service by allowing us to experience the outdoors without needing to step out.

ODA’s explorations primarily focus on tower designs, in an attempt to bring versatility and a touch of greenery to NY’s overtly boxy and shiny cityscape. Architectural explorations look at residential units with dedicated ‘greenery zones’ that act as areas of social congregation for the building’s residents. Adorned with curvilinear, organic architecture, and interspersed with greenery, these areas give the residents a break from the concrete-jungle-aesthetic of the skyscraper-filled city. They act as areas of reflection and of allowing people to connect with nature and with one another. Designed specifically for the building’s residents, these ‘shared indoor gardens’ even serve as wellness areas, giving people spaces to exercise, meditate, do yoga, and just take a break from being stuck at home… all while being safely within the confines of your building!

Designer: ODA New York

Beauty and the Beast’s new flower vase doesn’t make a mess

Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite Disney films and the scene where the petal drops is such a poetic visual. However, in real life when petals keep dropping one by one it is not as magical, in fact, it can get annoying when they come under your feet or are constantly at the countertop no matter how many times you clean. Prop is a conceptual vase that turns this petal plunge into petal power with one simple twist to the conventional vase.

Prop’s most distinct feature is the petal plate – we usually don’t see this in a vase and I like the idea that it can catch petals before they fall down so it looks artistic instead of messy! It has three simple parts – the vase, the water bottle, and the petal plate. To add a touch of rich aesthetic, the glass slides were covered with a plating material. The plate makes it easy to discard all petals together instead of one by one (that you pick from the surrounding surfaces) and the water bottle is a convenient way to add or change the water.

The elegant yet functional flower vase comes in three colors – budding yellow, blooming red and faded orange. The warm tones complement your flowers and make your space cozy. Prop reimagines the traditional flower vase and brings back a little bit of the Disney magic without the mess!

Designer: Fountain Studio and Soohyeon Lim