November 2021 marks two important occasions – firstly, the imminent arrival of the new year 2022, and secondly, it also is the 2-year anniversary of this blasted pandemic that’s kept us all indoors and has altered life in unthinkable ways. This means we’ve spent two years trying to figure out a cure to the disease, but haven’t tackled the everyday pain points of living in a pandemic… notably, the issue of the suffocating (both visually and physically) face mask.
In two years of wearing face masks, there haven’t been any phenomenal mass efforts to change how masks look or function. We’ve covered our fair share of futuristic masks on this site, but none of them have really sparked a global movement to wear transparent shields around our noses and mouths. It’s just reinforced my belief that easier solutions are always better, and that the perfect face mask is still a relentless work in progress… and South African designer George Gibbens has thrown his hat into the ring with the Venta, a transparent face mask that received the Red Dot Design Concept Award this year.
The Venta mask separates the conventional face mask into three simple parts. A transparent shield, two replaceable filters, and the head strap. Designed to highlight your expression, the mask comes with a flexible transparent TPU cover, with two air filters plugged into the side, working almost like a pair of gills on either side of the face. The air you breathe enters and exits through these filters, ensuring you inhale clean air, and exhale without letting respiratory droplets out into the atmosphere. While the mask is currently in its developmental/conceptual phase, one would imagine it comes with some sort of anti-fog coating on the inside that ensures the transparent mask doesn’t mist up on the inside with your breath. The filters also automatically change color when they need to be replaced, making it easier to know when your mask needs a fresh set of filters so that you’re always breathing clean air.
“Throughout the edges of the clear front is a metal reinforced foam rubber frame. This allows the frame to be malleable and adjust to any face size and shape”, Gibbens mentions. “A new replaceable filter system that changes color to indicate when it needs to be replaced is an innovative solution to the problem of filter replacement in safety masks. A fully transparent front body allows facial expressions to be observed.”
The Venta Mask is a winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2021.
Designer: George Gibbens