In challenging times, it is not surprising that human creativity has sometimes flourished, and we are globally entrenched in one of the most difficult times in human history. As personal hygiene and self-isolation become keywords in our daily lives, some firms have explored ways to make a difference, whether big or small, to help reduce the inconveniences people are facing.
Take, for instance, Danish start-up Stykka, which has ingeniously designed an open source cardboard desk to help people to #staythef***home, a hashtag that is trending online to promote self-isolation.
Galvanised by their personal situation of having to share workstations with family members, or not having a suitable workdesk, Stykka’s designers challenged themselves to create and prototype a desk using only a laser cutter, cardboard and zip ties. In less than 24 hours, the team went from an idea to an affordable, shippable product: a flat-pack workstation that can be easily assembled out of three pieces of folded cardboard in less than 10 minutes. Made of FSC certified recycled cardboard, the product is easy to ship and set up – and also to recycle, when life returns to normal.
Jarl Vindnæs, the founder of Stykka, says, “We want the design to benefit as many people as possible, which is why we have made the production files open-source and freely available for download under the creative commons license. It’s our hope that people will download it, hack it, and improve it.”
Open source design
The #StayTheF***Home Desk is available for orders now on stykka.com and ships flat-packed to United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, France, Italy, Austria, Finland, Spain and the Netherlands. The production files are open-source and available for free at stykka.com for people who have access to a laser cutter and cardboard and wish to print their own.
(Related: The art of sustainable design)
Chinese designer Kiran Zhu has created the Handy Capsule sanitation kit, with the aim of encouraging better public health habits. Zhu explains that public health products are usually presented in packaging that emphasises sensibility over aesthetics, and he hopes that the sleek design of the Handy Capsule – “its shape is easy to associate with some fashion supplies, such as beauty makeup,” he says – would connect with the public, making it easy to integrate into daily life. He adds, “It also offers this product more possibilities for role changes.”
The compact sanitation kit contains four types of health supplies: a disposable mask, hand sanitiser, temperature stickers and alcohol wipes. Design-wise, the soft case is pebble-shaped. Designed for daily use and portability, it’s 12.5cm long and 9cm wide, with a thickness of just 2.5cm. The Handy Capsule has an embedded magnetic clasp for opening, and features a loop on its side for easy carrying.
Zhu adds that “when medical supplies become more fashionable and beautiful as daily necessities, the language of delivery will be more relatable”.
His design has been included to a series of conceptual products that aim to improve public health in the wake of Covid-19
Zhu’s Handy Capsule was recently added to the Create Cures project, which is a collection of conceptual products that aim to improve public health in the wake of Covid-19. Other interesting concepts include a transparent face mask to facilitate human connection as expressions aren’t covered, a sterilising lamp, and a time-changing hand sanitiser.