This furniture design doubling as a home gym is the perfect fit for your home interiors!

Working out in your own home can get overwhelming. Crowded spaces and clunky machinery are eyesores in any space. It seems the only available workout equipment on the market today caters to those who already have space, money, and time for a separate home gym altogether, so putting a big treadmill in the middle of the living room isn’t even part of the question. Hannah Fink, a designer with Pratt Institute, constructed The Groove in order to make the benefits of working out possible while maintaining comfortable living spaces.

The Groove was conceptualized based around the efficiency of pilates reformers, resistance training, and gymnastics, integrating an entire gym into one piece of furniture. Fink reimagined working out at home by merging practicality with style. The Groove mounts three cushioned units onto quiet, rubber wheels and connects them with resistance bands, allowing for a catalog of possible exercises: heel raises, bicep curls, leg presses, sliding planks. Pulling on inspiration from pilates and gymnastics, The Groove incorporates the four pillars of fitness: aerobic, strengthening, stretching, and balance. Since most pieces of home gym equipment focus on only one pillar, users might unknowingly neglect other muscle groups, which can lead to an imbalance that contributes to overuse injuries.

Home gyms should provide versatility for bodily ambulation; miniature experimentation offered Fink insight as to how The Groove could deliver that. The three levels of resistance that connect the units emphasize that mutability. After working alongside fitness professionals, Fink conceptualized and manufactured a final product that implements resistance bands of varying strength levels, along with handles, and barbell attachments for seated rows, tricep extensions, and bicep curls. Solid, white oak wood with beveled edges enhance the furniture’s aesthetic value, and an upholstered cushion made from weatherproof, washable fabric can easily be removed for deep cleaning. The versatility and simplicity of The Groove remind us that taking care of our physical health can be as convenient as it is healthful, so long as we allow it to be.

Designer: Hannah Fink

This portable Coffee Maker’s nesting design is the ultimate travel companion!

As I prepared for my first camping trip, coffee was the only thing on my mind. I thought my worries were solved once I packed my stovetop coffeemaker and portable propane stove, but then the propane ran out, so my first cup of coffee had to wait. Situations like these are exactly why the Nesting Cafe, designed by Songhwa Park, was created. Whether you’re at a sporting event or on a camping trip, the Nesting Cafe will make sure you stay caffeinated no matter what.

Nesting Cafe’s design reinterprets the iconic Matryoshka doll by attaching a capsule coffee maker to the inside of its steel tumbler and removable wooden cup. The bottom of the wooden cup utilizes a magnet in order to securely attach to the coffee maker so that you can bring it everywhere you go. Once the coffee is finished brewing, then the user can decide whether they’d like to sip it straight from the tumbler, where the coffee from the capsule is poured into, or drink some out of the accompanying wooden mug. The product is comprised of three main parts: its carrying case, which includes a leather strap for easy transportation and the compartment for pods to brew your coffee, a tumbler, which fills up with coffee once brewed, and lastly, the removable wooden mug which provides an additional option from which to drink. Nesting Cafe was also designed in an assortment of different tones and shades so that no matter where you might find yourself, coffee will always follow.

Upon first glance, Nesting Cafe might look like a really slick, modern take on the Russian doll we’ve come to cherish. While that would be an accurate assumption, it’s also so much more. Opening the product’s front door, the user sees all that comprises the portable coffee maker. Just like the beloved Russian doll, Nesting Cafe brings new life to an otherwise timeless appliance.

Designer: Songhwa Park

This self-sustaining compost system turns your food scraps into a thriving indoor garden!

The world as we once knew it is changing. While the list of changes seems too long to share – gardening would be considered one of them. The environment and sustainable living have been hot topics for some time now, but in 2020, they’ve turned into personal commitments for people across the globe. Composting is one way to promote sustainability in your own living space, as proved by AQUA, a sustainable, contained gardening system. AQUA was created by OG Design so that environmentally conscious people can curate their very own self-sustaining indoor garden no matter where they live.

AQUA’s system is comprised of three main working parts: a container for food waste, an elevated light structure, and three soil pots. The food waste container is located on one side of the indoor planter and turns your leftover food scraps into compost for fertilizer. Composting is a method used to decompose organic solid waste and fertilize the soil for gardening. The slim, attractive light fixture is situated directly above AQUA’s garden pots and provides the mini garden with nourishing light-energy. The indoor, gardening system is completely self-sustaining and conveniently sized in order to fit into any kitchen or living space. The system itself works after food waste is dumped into the container on the left-hand side, fertilizing the soil contained in the trio of modestly sized pots, each of which provides energy for plants to then grow and thrive.

OG Design conceptualized AQUA in order to “[keep] food from entering landfills” and for users “to cultivate their own small vegetable garden,” because food accounts for 46.2% of combustible waste. The interest in gardening, especially indoor gardening, and sustainable living is rising with younger generations as city living becomes more popular. In urban spaces, ecologically conscious living is tricky as there’s less yard space and community gardens can be hard to come by. AQUA makes sustainable living possible for any city home, from the small efficiency studio to the three-story townhouse. As long as you’ve got a kitchen counter or windowsill, your personal vegetable garden awaits.

Designer: OG Design

A turntable that doubles as an analog clock is a space-saving way to evoke nostalgia!

Nostalgia permeates throughout any room with a turntable or analog clock. But nowadays, any song from any artist can be played with the touch of a button. Hardly anyone who owns an analog clock looks at it before looking at their iPhone. Turntables and wall clocks seem to be technologies of the past, but still, we savor the crackly, crisp sound that comes from spinning records and we adorn our walls with mounted clocks because they bring us back to a time from our younger years. While all of this is true, turntables and analog clocks are a type of technological hardware that is just as reliably functional as it is sentimental. Joonho Sung designed the Vinyl Clock in order to bridge the constant functionality of a clock with the retro sound and lure of a turntable.

When turntables aren’t in use, they have a tendency to just take up space. They have no purpose other than to play music, so by turning it into a dual-functioning house product, the machine operates on a round-the-clock basis, pun intended. The final product is a stand-up record player whose cartridge doubles as a second-hand for its other purpose of telling and keeping track of time. By incorporating a removable axial cap, the design’s clock can be deconstructed in order to transform into a turntable. Once you select the record you’d like to play, it’s easy to reconstruct the clock back to its practical display. Manually-automated control dials for both volume and time are positioned just above the Vinyl Clock’s speaker for easy, fine-tuning. Through a simple transference of duties, the product’s epitomic function is to play your favorite records, using the clock’s second hand as a cartridge, while also providing you with the time of day – no longer will your turntable not be in use.

Just like the time, music is always around us, and with the popularity of turntables only increasing, a music player, that doubles as a multi-functioning design piece, makes for the perfect marriage of yesteryear’s appreciation for music with today’s innovative design energy. Joonho Sung created the Vinyl Clock in order to remind users of how precious parlor music once was, while also acknowledging the expectations of today’s vinyl listeners. The Vinyl Clock bridges value and manual labor with innovation and contemporary design so that the records can keep on spinning.

Designer: Joonho Sung

This AI-operated villa in the Czech Republic comes with panoramic views and needs no keys!

Artificial-intelligence controls Villa Sophia, designed by Coll Coll, which blooms at the top of a hill above Prague, Czech Republic. Described as the “center of the universe,” by its creators, Michaela Pankova and Karel Panek, the architecture of Villa Sophia really does seem to present itself as a sort of nucleus, quietly blending the omnipresence of today’s technology with timeless values of connectedness and sustainability. The minds behind the hideout, the villa’s habitants, aimed to integrate robust AI technology into each nook and cranny of the home while also ensuring that the villa embodied warmth and intimacy for social gatherings or alone time. 

The home incorporates impressive artificial intelligence throughout such as musical instruments that play themselves, lights that turn on without switches, along with verbal and haptic sensors that track your footsteps, your hand motions, and spoken word. Oh, and did we mention, this smart-house needs no keys! On the home’s AI technology, one of its creators, Michaela Pankova says, “The house is like a brain,” and the home certainly is smart. Aware of where everyone is inside the house, Villa Sophia’s AI system listens and adapts to the growing needs of the home’s residents so that just by inhabiting the home, everyone can enjoy the benefits that come with technological living. Room temperatures will adjust as soon as someone makes note of the cold. Come sunset, blue lighting dissipates so that the house provides optimal lighting for sleep. Deliveries always make it inside as the smart home can unlock and open doors after assessing who’s knocking. The home has as many technological capabilities as the human has thoughts, in this way, artificial and human intelligence work in tandem. 

Considering the home’s catalog of intellectual technology, sustainability and interconnection still breathe inside and outside Villa Sophia. The home is just as eco-friendly as it is tech-savvy, with responsibly sourced wood material and polyurethane floor finishing, the interior design makes the overall home that much more efficient and eco-conscious. From the rich, walnut wood finishes to the living space’s accessible ramp that slithers through a sloped chunk of the staircase, a seamless fusion of distinguished technological innovation with an acute awareness of the human’s urge to control pervade this villa.

Designer: Michaela Pankova and Karel Panek of Coll Coll

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This contemporary lamp + mosquito killing design is an aesthetic way to stay itch-free!

It’s safe to say that mosquitoes are probably one of the most disliked species of bugs in existence today. Mosquito spray and bug zappers stock the shelves of convenience and grocery stores during the warmer seasons, with the latter solution being the most popular option. After rendering their take on the bug zapper, PUURFUN LIN produced a mosquito killer lamp visual design that’s stylish in appearance and effective in purpose.

The finished design is sleek, contemporary, and suitable for either indoor or outdoor spaces. Inspired by expandable lanterns and handheld lamps, this take on the bug zapper is as chic as it is reliable and resembles a minuscule, cyborg, silent assassin. Doubling as a lamp, this device provides enough lighting for an evening spent outside on the porch or one spent inside, reading a book with the windows open. In addition to the design’s light features, it also zaps bugs. Mosquitoes are irresistibly attracted to the lamp’s ultraviolet light rays, which then brings them to the device’s killing snare. As the mosquitoes fly closer towards the ultraviolet light, a killing entrapment takes care of the pest so summer nights can carry on without worry. This portable mosquito killer lamp fits in nicely amongst other household objects as its shape, structure, and color scheme is subdued and unassuming, but attractive and minimal in its presentation. Being that this design is both a lamp and a mosquito trap, the final product is wireless and portable, making it easy to transfer from place to place.

Nothing gets in the way of a relaxing, warm evening like pesky mosquitoes. No matter the endless rows of citronella candles or cups of DEET bug-repellent, mosquitoes just keep on coming. Devices like this one, from PUURFUN LIN, are imperative to make those summer nights feel a lot less itchy and much more enjoyable, keeping the looming threat of those tiny bloodsuckers away for good.

Designer: PUURFUN LIN

These repurposed shipping container offices are designed to be economic and eco-friendly!

Repurposing shipping containers to create homes and offices is a sustainable trend that is gaining momentum. Similar to the tiny houses, these structures are compact, modular and can be designed to fit any purpose that you may have for a place -right from a remote campus, ICU pods, office network, or even a small town. The possibilities are endless and CAPSA Containers hosted a competition, ‘Design for Tomorrow’ that is focused on innovative and alternative construction solutions. Construction is responsible for 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions so these designs can help us build more responsibly and sustainably – they are ecological, economic, and meet the societal expectation of doing better with less, reducing environmental footprint, and limiting the consumption of natural resources.

“Bio-based materials, recycled, reused, smart, and sustainable construction will be our tools to meet these challenges. In the diversity of offer that the construction offers today, the marine container is an alternative offering a great number of assets: modularity, mobility, scalability,” says the team at CAPSA.

Designers: Bureau Agreste by Hugues Hernandez, Morgan Baufils, and Ariane Marty. Flowers in the Garden by Eu Jin Lim. Side Up Project by Mengfan Sha, Wang, and Zhang.

The winner is ‘Bureau Agreste’ – a modern shipping container office that provides professionals with a dedicated working space. The contemporary aesthetic masks the fact that it is an eco-friendly space. It has two levels with an open floor plan that makes it feel roomier and encourages productivity. It also features solar panels on the roof along with a rainwater harvesting system which makes it perfect for off-grid locations – this way businesses can save on the high rent they would usually pay in big cities. The container suspension frees up the ground space for organizing recreational outdoor activities (or even parking!) and gives the elevation needed for natural light. The first floor is organized concentrically around the central point of arrival, from the collective space (exchange and debate) to the intimate space (concentration and introspection). “The project aims to a certain resilience and seeks to minimize its ecological impact, by the use of recycling end-of-life containers, rainwater recovery tank, photovoltaic panels, dry toilets, wood stove, ceiling fan or even the use of bio-sourced materials from the local industry,” says the winning design team.

The second place was awarded to ‘Flowers in the Garden’ which was designed to be a hybrid of communal workspace and a garden. The project challenges traditional office settings by integrating the natural environment as a part of the whole workspace. It is an organic but playful structure with soft screens and in-between green-buffering spaces that creates a diverse ecosystem of perforated mass that is always ‘breathing’. This office design lets you stay healthily distanced but not socially separated and provides a refreshing break from staring at your screens.

The third place goes to the ‘Side Up Project’ that creatively transforms shipping containers into a semi-open space. It uses containers like LEGO blocks and combines multiple ‘side-up’ containers to form a flex space that could be used for work, camps, exhibitions, or events. The design turns the closed, small individual containers into a connected entity allowing occupants to move freely through the space while creating pockets that can be used for specific purposes. Not only is it a place for productivity and collaboration, but also a catalyst for future sustainable working communities.

Transformable to infinity, these repurposed shipping containers are the ideal ingredient for the wildest architectural projects while reducing the construction industry’s negative impact on the environment. These sustainable workplaces are definitely one of the coolest office designs we’ve seen!

This shape-shifting cork furniture transforms to be a lounger, center table or even a side bench!

Modern design aesthetics demand functional furniture that takes less space and does more. The ability to quickly reconfigure the individual elements depending on the usage and the environment is highly rated in modern times. That’s why modular furniture is fancied by people who like minimalistic interiors without compromising on the multitude of uses that a thoughtful furniture piece can offer.

Architect, designer, and creative director – José Manuel Carvalho Araújo who Graduated in architecture from the architecture schools of Oporto and Lisbon, Carvalho Araújo, has a keen eye for product design, making him a well-renowned name in his spheres. His simple yet highly useful chair design christened Tumble is the perfect example of intuitive product design which is well-tailored for ultra-modern interiors. It is essentially a platform that serves as a chair, side table, bench seat, storage unit, bookshelf, center table, or a lounger. Depending on the nature of use and the available interior space, Tumble can be put to good use with a bit of creative thinking. The furniture piece is crafted out of natural agglomerated cork and natural oak, making it good for the environment too. The use of these biodegradable materials should not let you into believing that the modular platform lacks in structural strength. It can take the weight of an above-average weighing adult and the only thing you need to cautious of is to keep water away from it.

Tumble comes in two size configurations – Tumble 600 and Tumble 300. Both have a total width of 1200 mm and a height of 870 mm. The only difference is the depth which is 600 mm for the former and 300 mm for the latter. Also, the weight varies for them at 33 kg and 16.5 kg respectively.

Designger: José Manuel Carvalho Araújo

This Home Gardening Assistive Device Sticks Into Your Plant’s Soil To Keep It Healthy!

Activities like home gardening have held the attention of millennials and older generations alike for years, but with quarantine, they’ve risen exponentially in popularity. Taking care of houseplants not only amplifies the mood and intimacy of your home but also fills up your space in a way that other interior design options cannot replicate. Houseplants are so popular, sales are supposed to increase to $49.3 billion by 2023. Speaking to this, mostly thanks to social media, a quarter of that spending is attributed to houseplant owners between the ages of 18 and 34. Botanist, a gardening assistive device, was designed to make taking care of a plant more manageable for everyone. Sejin Park, based out of Seoul, designed Botanist because he saw the millennial generation’s love for houseplant culture and their preferred mode of communication: technology. 

Millennials seem to take some heat from older generations for how often we’re on our phones and how disconnected from the world we are because of it. In order to make some sense of that tension, Park bridged a connection between the natural and mobile worlds. Botanist consists of three divided parts: touchscreen, connector, and the probe stick. The probe stick scans and analyzes your houseplant’s soil in order to communicate what the plant might need, which is displayed on Botanist’s screen. Through a speaker and touchscreen, the user is informed of the houseplants’ soil, pH, light, temperature, and humidity levels on easy-to-read, circular, gauges. The touchscreen then provides additional information, relaying how the user can maintain the plant’s health levels or cater to them. The connecter is what allows the information gathered from the probe stick to travel to the touchscreen. On its touchscreen, Botanist also lets users file their houseplants so that they’re easy to find and take care of.

The device pairs with your phone so that you can receive the latest information from your houseplant no matter how far from home you may be. Taking inspiration from devices like speakers, reusable water bottles, and other sustainable products, Park was sure to design this assistive device so that its purpose to maintain health and plant life reflected not only how its materials were sourced, but also so that its structure and look fit in amongst your houseplants. Your plants will practically take care of themselves.

Designer: Sejin Park

IDEO’s Winter Dining challenge’s winning designs balance safety without sacrificing the experience!

IDEO launched its very own Chicago-based Winter Dining Challenge during the age of COVID-19. Through this challenge, the city of Chicago aims to stimulate and encourage safe dining from Lake Michigan to Chicago Lawn and everywhere in between. This challenge is 2020 pandemic-specific since alternative dining experiences have been at the forefront of everyone’s minds, as you probably already know. On October 8th, IDEO announced the top designs for Chicago, each of which brought with them a distinct interpretation of safe, yet lively dining experiences.

Cozy Cabins

Inspired by ice fishing huts, Young designed modular, transparent cabins so that dinner guests can enjoy the bustling streets of Chicago while maintaining safety protocol for social distancing. The cabins are identical in size and shape, which makes it easy to reproduce in other cities, fitting easily within average-sized parking spaces. Best yet, the cabins are also simply produced, requiring only wood, corrugated metal, polycarbonate plastic, and standard framing hardware. Additionally, these cabins are inexpensive to make and integrate a floor-heating system in order to keep diners warm while they enjoy their meals. Cozy Cabin would offer Chicagoans a warm, appetizing retreat during the city’s notoriously frigid winter months.

Designers:  Amy Young x ASD | SKY 

Each Cozy Cabin is identical in size and shape, making the process of construction and reproduction manageable. Additionally, the cabins require minimal material, all of which can be sustainably sourced and maintained. Diners will have lots of personal space in these Cozy Cabins, depending on their party’s size.

Block Party

Urban designers, Neil Reindel and Flo Mettetal designed expandable, life-size blocks for their alternative dining spaces. These blocks fit within parking lanes, in order to fully expand. However, if restaurants do not have enough space in their parking lots, then the blocks can be positioned on extended sidewalks or pocket parks. The blocks position diners amongst the busy and many pedestrians of city streets, bringing the communal experience of eating out to each block. Likely, the most exciting feature of this concept in particular is the expansion feature. If your party is bigger, then the blocks can be grouped together in order to enlarge the dining space. This dining experience is not fully enclosed, allowing for some air circulation. However, available curtains would allow diners to turn their dining experience into a private one. Each module would be constructed using Metal ‘C’ studs, in expanded polystyrene, and objects (tables, light fixtures, etc.) would be clad with sealed MDF, a material denser than plywood. By implementing a thermal mesh system, Block Party ensures a warm dining experience for each block partygoer.

Designers: Neil Reindel and Flo Mettetal

Each module seats two guests comfortably and can be arranged to accommodate bigger parties if the need arises.

Each module can be moved using a caster wheel dolly and combined so that modules can increase room for diners by increments of two. The modules fasten together using pin joints, which is a good option in order to prevent the modules from rotating or drifting.

The modules can be arranged so that the restaurant’s outdoor seating space is optimized and after work hours, the blocks can be separated and organized depending on the space available.

While these blocks themselves represent a safe dining experience, the Chicago-based, urban designers intend to implement further safety protocols, such as one-way routes for wait staff and pedestrians, along with security blocks in order to minimize traffic flow on the sidewalk.

Heated Tables

Working from Japanese modes of dining, Chicago-based Ellie Henderson planned outdoor heated tables for IDEO’s Winter Design Challenge. Heated tables, also known as kotatsu, are common in Japan and provide an economical way to keep warm during cold months. Typically found indoors, heated tables represent a hub of warmth for households. By making a few modifications, Henderson hopes to bring Hygge dining, a Danish concept meant in regard to life’s simple pleasures, to the streets of Chicago. This design stands out for its open-air approach to dining. This means that servers and restaurant-owners will still have to maintain COVID-19 safety protocol. Air circulation is vital in reducing the transmission of Coronavirus, which means this design might thrive so long as initiatives such as the closure of streets for comfortable outdoor dining remain in place. Perhaps the most economical design option, heated tables’ construction would require only preexisting material: a source of heat, blanket, screws, and a table.

Designer: Ellie Henderson

Inspired by the Japanese way of dining (kotatsu) an economical, and familiar material make up this design. All that it needs is a tabletop, blanket, a source of heat, and some screws. The heating element typically remains out of view, underneath the table and blanket covering.

In addition to dining experiences, bars, festivals, and other indoor services have changed their indoor seating to similar variants of the heated table design, inspired by kotatsu, as pictured above.