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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Designer: Tobia Zambotti and Aleksi Saastamoinen

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

Photo by Twitter user @tomsDlu

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

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

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

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

Designer: IKEA

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

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

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

This dominos-inspired skyscraper could become Africa’s second-tallest tower at 70-stories high!

If brought to fruition, the Zanzibar Domino Commerical Tower will become Africa’s second-tallest building and a landmark tourist destination to help stimulate the country’s economy and tourism industry.

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen some crushing setbacks on the tourism industry, in particular for countries that rely on it for their economic output. In response, architects have churned out some of their most daring and inspired plans, from apartment skyscrapers to floating museums, all with the hope of luring in tourists from across the world. Architecture and interiors firm xCassia unveiled its plans for Zanzibar Domino Commerical Tower, a dominos-inspired skyscraper slated for Zanzibar, an autonomous archipelago off the coast of East Africa, to become the second tallest building at 70-stories high in Africa and help stimulate Zanzibar’s local tourism industry.

If the building’s plans ever come to fruition, the multipurpose skyscraper will cover a sweeping 370,000 square meters and be composed of 360 scalloped slates with an observation deck at its highest point. One day, the tower is designed to function as a landmark tourist destination. xCassia initially developed the dominos-inspired tower for different sites in Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, but a recent contract was signed by Tanzanian AICL Group and Edinburgh Crowland Management for xCassia to begin progress on the skyscraper in Zanzibar.

The tower itself will be host to a 560-unit resident complex and five to six-star hotel and spa facilities. Covering 20-hectares on a 4km-long plot of land, the larger site will give rise to the largest resort in East and Central Africa, and will see a golf course, wedding chapel, and marina for yachts and cruise ships on the island’s private islet.

Jean-Paul Cassia, founder and design director of xCassia, described the tower’s initial inspiration, “First sketched in Paris in 2009, after my late father, two sons, and I played a round of dominos–I dreamed of building this project for over a decade. Between its innate mathematical order and geometries found in nature, its pure lines and proportions that evoke growth, progress, and freedom, it had all the bearings of an icon anyone could remember and draw on a paper napkin. All it lacked was the right visionary investor and site to make it come true.”

During the signing ceremony between AICL Group, Edinburgh Crowland Management, and xCassia, CEO of Crowland Management Ltd Dr. Emmanuel Umoh mentioned, “The building which will be called Zanzibar Domino Commercial Tower is expected to be one of the international iconic features, facilitating tourism, culture, and business opportunities.”

Designer: xCassia

This autonomous robot acts as a passenger guide while disinfecting the public transport system!

An autonomous fleet of AI robots that disinfects precarious surfaces of public transport systems like metro coaches, and also guides passengers in and out of the station through the least crowded pathways.

The ongoing pandemic has radically shifted our perspectives when it comes to cleanliness and personal hygiene. No matter how hard we try to avoid the crowd, at some point in time, we have to head in the hot zone – public places in particular or use public transport. Such locations are the breeding ground for viral infections and COVID-19 of course. This is where autonomy can help so that nothing is left to chance and pathogens breeding in the hard-to-reach surfaces are cleansed for good.

Meet the CLEANSE robot designed by Yifeeling Design for sanitizing public places such as metros or malls. This autonomous robotic rig moving on independent driven wheels greatly reduces the risk of air-borne diseases in public transportation – subways in particular. It sets into action as soon as the metro train arrives at the station by first guiding the passengers to the exit through the station by analyzing the least crowded locations and choosing the path accordingly.

Another fleet of CLENASE robots disinfects each coach during the metro train’s halt at the station – ensuring that every nook and corner of the transportation system is free from any chances of the next batch of riders getting infected. This smart mechanism is paramount in ensuring not even a single passenger gets infects and further spreads the infection to other random people.

The smart robot is loaded with sensors and cameras to navigate during the course of its cleaning and passenger guiding regime. In the guiding role, the passengers can choose their destination from the interactive display on top of the robotic machine. For the cleansing role, the CLEANSE robot is loaded with a mop and brush underneath to get rid of dirt and dust on the walking surface.

To disinfect the other surfaces it sprays the disinfectant from the front and side nozzles. When it runs out of juice, the robot automatically hooks onto the charging bay at the station to get ready for its routine tasks!

Designer: Yifeeling Design

This Polestar-inspired aircraft mobility design features a built-in greenhouse to resolve deforestation issues!

The Polestar Forest Air Mobility concept is an aircraft concept from Pan Ziheng that has its own greenhouse to work in an environmental solution for modern deforestation issues while bridging a human need for mobility with today’s COVID-19 health and safety concerns.

Social distancing is one of the many ‘new normals’ we’ve incorporated into our daily lives as a result of the pandemic. But while coffee lines enforce the six-foot rule, aircraft and public transportation services are now back to programmed scheduling, stuffing each vehicle wall-to-wall with passengers. To strike a balance between the natural need for mobility and travel with today’s health and social distancing concerns, Pan Ziheng developed a futuristic Forest Air Mobility concept that also attempts to tie in environmental solutions for modern deforestation issues.

Pan Ziheng’s Forest Air Mobility concept envisions separate capsules for two individual passengers aboard the aircraft. Each personal cabin is stationed far enough away from one another so that the aircraft’s passengers do not cross paths. Pan Ziheng felt inspired to conceptualize their Forest Air Mobility concept design after recognizing the parallels between humans comprising a society and trees forming a forest. Describing their concept design in their own words, Pan Ziheng says, “Just like trees, human beings need to live together to be a functional society just like forests. However, at the same time, we need our personal space. [My] forest concept wants to provide a solution to this problem: public air transportation where we can travel together yet can still have a personal space.”

Conceptualized around a forest called Polestar Forest, Pan Ziheng ideated that their aircraft would host a greenhouse that grows saplings to be planted in the Polestar Forest, enlarging its forested acreage and providing timber resources for the larger Polestar community. The carbon dioxide captured by the aircraft’s battery would filter through a carbon transfer tube to feed the plants inside the aircraft’s built-in greenhouse and store any excess. In time, the Polestar Forest would stand as an emblem for the Polestar community, representing core sustainable values.

Designer: Pan Ziheng

Each passenger’s vessel is kept at a safe distance from one another to ensure responsible social distancing between aircraft personnel.

A carbon dioxide transfer tube stores and converts carbon dioxide to feed the plant life inside the greenhouse. The vertical rise of the Polestar Forest Air Mobility Concept is futuristic in and of itself.

These single-use shipping containers repurposed into swimming pools will bring your backyard to life!

Rathnam’s company, Modpools essentially converts single-use shipping containers into backyard pools that could be installed underground, aboveground, or anywhere between.

Over the course of this pandemic, we’ve seen everything from prefabricated backyard tiny offices to an outdoor mobile bar and kitchen designed for summer BBQs. With so much of our focus on the environment and the potential of our own backyards, designers are getting creative with sustainability and how they construct these at-home retreats. After transforming disused shipping containers into self-contained home offices, Paul Rathnam, seasoned pandemic backyard renovator, returns to shipping containers, only this time he’s turning them into pools.

Dubbing them “the world’s cardboard boxes,” Rathnam felt inspired to build the pools as a means of giving the discarded shipping containers new purpose and new life to backyards. The shipping containers are purchased by Rathnam after goods are shipped to North America from China since they would otherwise just be discarded and not reused for shipping purposes. Depending on your backyard and its building parameters, Modpools can be customized to fit.

No matter where you live, Modpools can be integrated into your home’s environment. Aware that prospective buyers might mistake the recycled shipping containers for emptied garbage dumpsters, Rathnam says, “The uphill battle with containers is that it looks like a dumpster.” Homeowners can rest assured, however, knowing their new backyard pool wasn’t a public dumpster yesterday. Maintaining a clean and dent-free look, Rathnam’s Modpools are formed from single-use containers that only ship goods such as cellphones, computers, and clothes.

Customizable for your own backyard and its parameters, Modpools can be configured in different geometric shapes to fit the size of your garden or patio, or whatever your configuration may need – indoor or outdoor. The shipping containers can be cut down from their 20-40’ lengths to fit any size or shape needed for your particular backyard configuration.

The temperature of Modpools can be raised to 104-degrees Fahrenheit for colder environments. The Modpools are adjusted and welded about an hour east of Vancouver in Rathnam’s factory so that all the construction happens off-site prior to the pool’s installation. The good news is on-site installation can be finished in a matter of only a day.

Designer: Modpools

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Glass windows can be installed to the side of Modpools for underwater viewing.

Modpools can be installed underground, aboveground, or anywhere in-between.

Modpools can also be cut down in length to fit indoors, shrinking down from a length of 40-feet to 20-feet.

Aboveground Modpools would be a great addition to the heat of the backyard during the summer months, lasting over 30 years.

Face Masks are not going anywhere, so this mask is built with an opening for drinking liquids safely during travel

Wearing face masks in airports and airplanes can get uncomfortable, especially if your trip is a long one. It can become difficult to breathe, there’s no eating or drinking, and it gets pretty sweaty under there. After traveling forty hours from the United States back to China, designer Ruitao Li developed the Umai Facemask, a silicone face covering with a breathing valve, air filter, and small mouthpiece slot that can be used to eat and drink while wearing the mask.

While we haven’t entered a post-COVID era yet, we are seeing a small light at the end of the tunnel. Rounding the corner, many restaurants and bars are opening back up to the public around the world. However, with new variants causing hot spots and surges all over the world, masks are still as necessary as ever. The Umai Facemask comes as a set, including the silicone face mask as well as a water bottle with a soft, bendable straw that fits into the mask’s mouthpiece slot.

Users can fill their bottles with their preferred beverages and say goodbye to airplane dry mouths. The removable straw can even be swapped from Umai’s water bottle and used to drink from another one. Umai Facemask’s breathing valve and air filter also make wearing a face mask feel a little more comfortable. Powered up with a type-c charge, the air filter ensures that the air you’re breathing in is clean and fresh, while the breathing valve circulates the air inside the mask to avoid the damp humidity that comes with conventional face masks.

Not eating and drinking while wearing a facemask has to be the hardest thing about traveling nowadays‒who doesn’t love airplane food? Designed to make the experience of modern travel feel a little more relaxed, the Umai Facemask doesn’t compromise the face mask’s primary purpose of keeping viruses and bacteria at bay, it enhances it. With adjustable aluminum nose pieces, hypoallergenic silicone covering, and several air filters, the Umai Facemask ensures comfort and safety.

Designer: Ruitao Li

Complete with a mouthpiece for eating and drinking, the Umai Facemask was designed to make modern travel more comfortable.

Constructed from hypoallergenic silicone, the Umai Facemask doesn’t cause acne or oily skin.

Traveling during the COVID-19 era requires a lot of caution, which can get uncomfortable.

Ruitao Li aimed to make a comfortable and safe face mask for the modern age.

Umai comes as a set, including the face mask, water bottle and bendable straw, and a type-c charger for the air filters.

Ruitao Li found that the most comfortable material for their face mask was silicone.

Medical professionals can also enjoy the benefits of eating and drinking while wearing a face mask.

The soft, bendable straw can be used for any water bottle as it is detachable.

Stocked with plenty of air filters and breathing valves, the Umai Facemask provides plenty of clean air to breathe.

The Nike AirBuddy drone gives you an airborne AI-powered trainer that tracks your workout

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Designed as a response to several restrictions imposed during the lockdown, the NIKE AIRBUDDY is a conceptual drone that ‘spots’ you while you exercise. It can be carried around via a shoulder-strap located on the base of the drone, and can be deployed anywhere. Once in the air, the drone connects with your Nike Fitness App and tracks your performance, giving you a comprehensive breakdown of your routine at the end.

Nike AirBuddy Drone

The drone embodies a clean, sophisticated design language, with 4 rotors branching out of a capsule-shaped body. The drone’s body is outfitted with a single camera that acts as a watchful eye, observing every movement you make like a trainer would. This would hint at the fact that the drone doesn’t come with any obstacle avoidance, so it’s best used in open fields (as opposed to densely forested parks or the woods). The AirBuddy does come with a light-strip located right in front of its camera, which means for the most part it can see what’s in front of it, avoiding obstacles as it flies forwards. Just in case the drone suffers wear and tear, the AirBuddy’s modular design solves this problem as the propellers are detachable and can be easily replaced with newer parts if they ever do get damaged.

Nike AirBuddy Drone

The AirBuddy is a conceptual drone designed by South Korea-based designer Cheolhee Lee. It features a customizable design that allows users to choose their own color-ways to match their workout-garments and gear, and although conceptual, sounds like quite a flex from a company that has always been at the forefront of innovation, having also worked on laceless shoes in the past, which were recently upgraded with the world’s first-ever hands-free shoes!

Designer: Cheolhee Lee

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

Nike AirBuddy Drone

This modular office solution fuses collaboration with privacy to create cubicles ideal for returning back to work!

As parts of the world slowly open their doors back up to the public, offices are steadily following suit– eager to get back to the ‘old normal.’ As we re-enter office buildings and social hubs of which we haven’t been inside for over a year, many are holding tight onto COVID-19 protocols and mandates to ensure the health and wellness of those inside the building. With this in mind, Mexico City-based NOS Design Studio created Hug, a modular office solution that encourages collaboration, but not without the protective barriers and private working zones born out of necessity during the pandemic.

While the topic of normalcy is moot, this upcoming transition into what some might call a post-COVID world carries with it a fusion of design– the maximum occupancy number might be thrown out the window in some areas, but the plastic barriers might not. NOS Design’s Hug is a modular, collaborative office solution with a cubicle-inspired design that allows for face-to-face interaction and maintains privacy via plastic barriers that surround each module. Each individual module that comprises Hug can be put together to form round cubicles using a relatively simple assembly process. A single Hug cubicle is formed by attaching multi-layered panels to the module’s sofa base by using washers and nuts to connect each piece.

The sofa keeps a power unit in its center that functions as a sort of cornerstone for the rest of the module to assemble. Lumbar support panels and cushioned seats with underlying storage units border the power unit to form the cubicle’s bench. Then, a metallic frame rounds the perimeter of the bench, creating an exterior barrier consisting of privacy screens, as well as wooden and fabric panels. Attached to the bottom of each module, four wheels allow for the cubicles to be moved around office spaces wherever workers see fit. Workers can also configure each individual module into a shape that coincides with their specific collaborative process, allowing for modules to connect and grow with other modules to create new office environments.

Designer: NOS Design

Each Hug module forms a round cubicle, creating private work zones and protective barriers.

Each module can also function as a collaborative working zone.

Four wheels tread the bottom of Hug to allow movement around the office.

Power units function as each module’s cornerstone, forming the rest of the cubicle around them.

Different configurations can transform office spaces into totally new environments.

Each module consists of a sofa bench, wooden and fabric exterior panels, and a metal frame that adds support and stabilizes the panels.

Each component of Hug is put together using a system of nuts and washers.

Lumbar support panels add cushioned support for workers.

Depending on the office, each module can be customized with different exterior panels, such as wooden, fabric, and plastic panels.

Workers can configure Hug according to the collaborative space needed.

A power unit provides a place for workers to charge their phones and carry drinks, while a swinging table provides working space.

Shelving units and cork panels create spaces for workers to store their supplies and get creative with new ideas.

Beneath the benches, plenty of storage space can be found for bulkier items like briefcases and purses.