Embrace Social Distancing with these comforting product designs

Will this pandemic change society forever? I have my thoughts. I think we’ll be a lot more careful moving on into the future, being mindful of our own health as well as the health of others. I also think we’ll see more and more companies relook productivity as something that can be done from anywhere, rather than just an office, and I won’t be surprised if a couple of designers use this time to relook how to change human behavior to allow us to be social, but safe. Before this ramble turns into a rant of sorts, we dug through the design archives to find some products that seem to embrace good design, privacy-promoting practices, and social distancing. Some of them border on introvertism, but think of it as ways to help you stay connected with yourself, rather than with others! Let’s take a look at them!

Sit in the Capsule Chair by Kateryna Sokolova for PALAU and as your behind sinks into the cushion, you notice your peripheral vision getting narrowed. Its cocoon-esque design covers your sides and your top, blocking not just vision but also absorbing audio, leaving you in a tranquil bubble as you sleep, read, or work.

The GreenFrame by Johan Kauppi of Kauppi & Kauppi is a floor screen divider, plant pot holder and a lighting fixture, all in one. Comprising of a minimalist ash wood frame, the rectangular structure can hold up to three potted plants. LED lights line the ceiling of the frame. The illuminated frame functions not only as a light fixture but helps in nurturing and growing the plants indoors, especially during winters in areas with minimal daylight hours. The frame also serves as a splendid divider, creating privates spaces in bustling offices.

Foster + Partners has launched a chair with a tall enveloping form, to offer privacy to people working, helping them escape the bustle around them. Named the Cove Chair, the design is intended to function as a mini-office. Its generously curved form incorporates a wide, comfortable seat, an integrated USB charging point, an optional mains power supply, and a table, which can be used as an informal desk.

Designed to enhance the flexibility of the modern shared workspace, the Corner Office helps define personal space and create a sanctuary for concentration. Each unit can be placed on existing table layouts in a variety of positions to accommodate both large and small teams. They can be paired up or placed singularly in seconds, and will instantly provide visual privacy, sound reduction with soft felt, dimmable task lighting, and desktop power.

Made out of fiberglass and polyethylene foam, the Helmfon helmet by Hochu Rayu cuts out all outside disturbance, giving you your quiet zen, even in a buzzing workplace (Wall Street, take note). The shape of the Helmfon helps reflect away noise from around you, and its lightweight design means it can be worn easily, or even be suspended or wall-mounted. A portmanteau of the words Helmet and Phone, the Helmfon isn’t just a noise-canceling device, it’s also an elaborate pair of headphones. Equipped with a system board, microphone, speakers, accumulator, magnifier and space on the inside for a smartphone, the Helmfon enables wearers to watch videos, organize Skype conferences and even make calls from within the helmet.

Equipped with long side panels, a high back, and soft noise-insulating fabric, the Offline Chair is the perfect spot to find some privacy! Its cocoon-like structure and the optional roof that you can attach or detach according to your convenience make it even more of a safe haven! However, what really allows you to cut off from the world is the chair’s special “Offline Pocket”.  Simply slip your phone into the pocket, and it instantly blocks off Wifi and mobile signals. As long as your phone is enclosed in the pocket, you won’t be hearing it ring or beep anytime soon. Designed by Agata Novak, this chair physically ensures you stay online.

Note Design’s Focus divider is created for the brand Zilenzio and the panels come in several sizes. The larger size is suitable for the floor, surrounding an entire workstation, with smaller versions for tabletop usage. And the best part – it can be rolled up and stored in a backpack for today’s digital office workers who need more privacy.

When closed, the Alcove looks like any regular slim bag that’s carrying either your work files or your laptop. However, fold open the flaps and the Alcove turns into a portable workstation that gives you total privacy as you quickly get your work done on a plane, or in that Starbucks, or even in your office, to prevent your colleagues from prying into your workspace to see what you’re up to. Designed by Yared Akalou & Sergio Aleman Jr., Alcove is privacy made portable, giving you the power to turn your lap or any flat surface into an immediate no-disturbance work-zone.

The Relaxation Hoodie by Vollebak gives you the ability to switch off and recover, something we need more than ever – it’s when our bodies rebuild and our minds recharge. But we spend most of our lives plugged into tech and using downtime to push our limits. So the Relaxation Hoodie is like an isolation tank you take with you anywhere. It requires no tech and no effort. Just zip up and unplug from everything.

Featuring a solid wood frame, the Quiet Time (QT) Privacy Lounge Chair by Poppin consists of three ‘walls’ layered with foam and fiber for a fluffy, springy feel, promising to absorb all and every background noise, and creating a hidden oasis for you. The three ‘walls’ are actually two tufted surround pillows and one back pillow crafted to ensure that you’re comfort level is at its highest.