The COVID-19 has inspired designers for invention of various utility items and tools to help us all adapt to new reality with its reshaped everyday habits and public behavior. With lockdowns around the world showing signs of easing, there is a lot of things to reconsider for people to start socializing in the context of the pandemic and its consequences.
Chinese designer Kiran Zhu, founder if Shanghai-based studio Ziinlife, has proposed a fashionable, yet compact sanitation kit accommodating four of the main health and sanitation supplies in increased demand nowadays. Named Handy Capsule, the on-the-go kit contains a disposable mask, hand sanitizer, temperature stickers and alcohol wipes, all fitted nicely in an aluminum-based handbag, not unlike a conventional makeup bag.
The items come in hermetically-sealed pod-like containers and can be replaced after use. The kit’s playful and modern aesthetics is a great example that health supplies packaging can go beyond sterile packaging to attune to the taste of today’s customers. The Handy Capsule was designed for the Create Cures initiative aimed to promote the development of conceptual products for public health from a designer’s perspective.
Julius Nobling, Max van der Mars and Ellinor Fast, an international team of designers, have developed a set of garments offering protection against COVID-19 transmission that looks stylish and appealing enough for young millennials who, as statistics shows, did not seem to take the early health regulations seriously. As the designers themselves put it, a hoodie with built-in facemask, a sneeze sleeve and a face shield comprising the set were ‘designed to be both protective and look dope’.
The hoodie has a sewn-in facemask that can be removed for washing, a sleeve pocket to store alcohol wipes or sanitizer, and an easily accessible glove attached to the hoodie pocket with Velcro. The latter can be used to open doors or hold on to the handrail on the bus, etc thus avoiding unnecessary contamination.
The sneeze sleeve is big and chunky enough to submerge one’s face in and encourages the user to sneeze into their elbow but not in the open air or into their hands. Together with the facemask attached to the hoodie, it also signals to the people around that the user cares about their well-being and aims to avoid spreading the virus.
To protect the user themselves, the designer have introduced a separate face shield. Thanks to its bright yellow tint, the piece provides the protectiveness of a mask and doubles as sunglasses, also brightening the user’s view. The attached plastic hinge let the shield be easily transformed into a sun cap.
Another attempt to make socializing a little bit brighter in the post-pandemic world is an aflatable face shield available in a variety of fun and happy colours. Designed by Annalisa Grassselli, head of MARGstudio, in collaboration with colleagues Alessio Casciano and Daniele Ruzza, the item aims to allow spending time with friends at restaurants and bars and through this to provide a practical solution for the businesses to stay afloat. The piece is aptly called Soffio, which is ‘blow’ or ‘puff’ in Italian, and is composed of a protective plastic visor and a colorful frame that can be easily assembled and worn allowing to dine or have a drink with friends.
The team has conceived the shield to be made entirely of PVC or recyclable plastic and come in a flat pack. This, together with a low price of 1 euro, will make it possible for bar owners to offer the protective gear to their customers at the entrance. To use the shield, the user should inflate it and place an elastic band around their head. The blowing valve inside the mask is protected from contagion, while its inflatable structure protects also against collisions with other objects or heads, in a funny way. The device creates a 180-degree protective barrier which allows individuals to dine while blocking the droplet effect and maintaining visual and hearing contact with nearby people, as it is fixed on the temples and leaves the ears free to hear.
The designers explain that the inside space is designed big enough to eat – for example – a slice of pizza or drink a glass of wine. It would look great at a photo from a get-together too!
Soffio is lightweight and inexpensive and could be a great alternative to ugly Plexiglas partitions that bars and restaurants use to keep their business running in a protected way. At home, the piece can be washed or sanitized and reused later.
Adding to the creative ideas that respond to the post-pandemic reality, the JAJAxD collective has developed the ‘Beachbelt’ kit, which helps people keep the recommended social distance on the beach. The kit that features a set of support element and a colourful tape to pass over them is meant to delimit a space for themselves on the sand, thus letting them enjoy the sand and the sea without anxiety.
The Beachbelt provides a temporary strategy for the free occupation of the beaches during hot summer days. In addition to the kit, it is suggested that an individual from each group will be alert, making sure that the safety distance between all other venues are indeed maintained.