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Put on «Cloudy Hood» and enjoy your peace

Pia Seidel
Zurich, on 08.12.2021
Pictures: Pia Seidel
Translation: Eva Francis

You don’t always need an extra room to retreat to. A visual or noise screen might be enough to help you concentrate better. «Cloudy Hood» offers you both.

While a hood usually protects you from wind and weather outside, «Cloudy Hood» shields you inside as well. Well, at least from the side. Like a wing chair, it keeps out draughts and muffles noises. It also reduces your field of vision and increases the focus on what’s right in front of you. This is supposed to make it easier to devote yourself to one thing without being distracted.

The design object «Cloudy Hood» by Mélina Laville caught my eye at Geneva Design Days. «It creates an intimate space around the person while they’re working at the computer or reading a book,» the designer said to me. «If needed, you can look through the small side openings.»

Don’t want to be all ears? Put on this hood.
Don’t want to be all ears? Put on this hood.
Peepholes allow you to take a quick look to the side.
Peepholes allow you to take a quick look to the side.
Exhibition: Design Days Geneva 2021

Bye-bye multitasking, hello silence

If you’re working on something and in a flow, you probably don’t hear others chatting. But if the opposite is the case, you need distance, or you’ll be listening in on one ear and your gaze is likely to wander back and forth. «Cloudy Hood is a substitute for quiet rooms,» the designer says. «It works in offices and in public places such as a library or your home.» The beauty of the idea is that it works in two ways: a person talking on the phone with Cloudy Hood isn’t distracted by others and doesn’t distract anyone else, either. This can also be handy when you’re working from home.

You may become an eye-catcher, but your gaze remains focused.
You may become an eye-catcher, but your gaze remains focused.

Mélina’s design is part of a project called «Second Skin» by the Geneva University of Art and Design. It was created in July 2021 with the goal to improve working conditions. The students also developed other objects. Examples? Extendable furniture such as a table with cover origami or a second breath chair. This was sponsored by the «USM Design Grant», an organisation that awards grants to encourage innovation. The Geneva University of Art and Design graduate’s idea won one of these grants.

First impression of the office-to-go

Cloudy Hood was hanging flat against a window at the Design Days exhibition. I put it over my head and the cocoon closed almost magically, as the ends are held together by magnets. Standing up, it felt like I was carrying an empty backpack. Not unpleasant, but unfamiliar. To my surprise, it didn’t wobble when I was sitting down. Breathing was easy and I could still hear the voices of people in the room, but they seemed miles away. «The felt and foam inside reduce background noise,» I just about heard Mélina say.

If you’re not using it, either hang Cloudy Hood up to save space…
If you’re not using it, either hang Cloudy Hood up to save space…
…or stage the hood like a sculpture.
…or stage the hood like a sculpture.

I noticed another positive effect of this special hood: it was only when I took it off again that I realised how brightly the room was actually lit – so bright that I was tempted to flee right back into the cocoon. But I had to give Cloudy Hood back. It’s just prototype. When and where will it be available? That hasn’t been decided yet. But one thing’s for sure: it’s not an item for a conventional fashion store.

Survey

Would you try «Cloudy Hood»?

  • Yes, I want to live in it.
    29%
  • Maybe, but only as a fashion statement.
    6%
  • No, I prefer noise-cancelling headphones.
    63%

The competition has ended.

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«There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. I believe in the latter.»
– Albert Einstein


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