IN YOUR OWN BUBBLE
Since the '70s, when the beginning of the debate on pollution began to have a slow grip on public opinion, the idea of protecting our person and our environments through invisible screens with soft shapes hovers in our minds. The man protected by the bubble, curved and welcoming, physically separates himself from the outside world, observing him through a filter from a privileged position.
The research carried out in those years by collectives such as the Austrians Haus-Rucker-Co focused on these issues.
Their installations and ideas may have seemed utopian at the time, but they prompted a reflection on the relationship between the person and the surrounding environment.
From experiments on fixed and mobile habitable environments, to the development of real individual helmets ("Mind Expander") capable of providing the user with a new perceptive perspective on the world, their work shows an evolution of the space that is modeled according to fluid lines, like gentle membranes that adapt to human needs.
These issues have started to suddenly reappear in our imagination following the new situation that the world is facing following the appearance of the COVID-19 virus. Several creatives have wondered how our daily life will relentlessly adapt to coexistence with this uncomfortable invader and the consequent rules of social distancing imposed by security.
An example is the project developed by Plastique Fantastique for example. Their compressed air capsule offers a safe option for the treatment of virally infected patients. This transparent bubble does not directly receive the air from the surrounding environment, but is constantly "inflated" by sterile air supplied by an external fan and subsequently expelled.
Doctors initially enter a first separate compartment which allows the disinfection process to continue.
Then you enter the main space where the doctor can visit the patient and which contains all the necessary tools.
A small section in the capsule surface allows you to touch the patient safely.
At the end of the shift, this space can be converted into a relaxation area/office for the doctor.
Similar is the proposal by the Chinese study Benwu for the development of small personal capsules that allow you to work and eat in a sterile environment in the office offering the same safety as the use of gloves and masks.
The capsule, which can be assembled with materials and components available in stores, offers a sterile air station with independent ventilation system.
The user accesses the capsule with his own hands and his face through sections hermetically closed by elastic bands so as not to expose himself to any risk of contagion.
Even more extreme is the DesignLibero project of a real personal "bubble" capable of protecting the individual completely within public spaces.
It looks like a screen in Ethylene TetrafluoroEtilene (ETFE), a transparent plastic material which is lighter and more insulating than glass and highly resistant to corrosion at extreme temperatures.
The screen is integrated with a fan coil system capable of filtering the air through replaceable filters, solar panels connected to an internal backpack for storing solar energy and a comfortable zip that makes it easy for the user to action of entering and leaving the capsule.
Creativity is therefore moving towards contemporary needs towards a vision in which the physical plane of interaction with the environment around us must always be mediated by an external element. A transparent "golden cage", an extension of our personal sphere, capable of protecting us us when inevitably out of necessity and instinct it will want to come into contact with public space.