Human Pods and Tranquil Havens

  • The name says it all: Hush

  • EVA pods in Stanley Kubrick's 1968 masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey

  • Eero Aarnio's 1963 Ball Chair, made of fiberglass and upholstered in fabric.

  • Brit designer Freyja Sewell imagines a haven in wool felt

  • Get on the bus: In Tokyo, the Willer Express Cocoon seat provide privacy and comfort.

  • Nestrest by Paris designers Daniel Pouzet and Fred Frety. Made of DEDON fiber.

Desperate for privacy, a cocoon-like pod provides refuge from the ubiquitous presence always listening. Even then, the space-flying egg is no escape for Dr. Poole and Dr. Bowman from HAL, the menacing machine in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Be it an EVA space pod or under the cover of a bed sheet, humans have always sought the privacy, comfort, solitude and peace that comes from a small, cozy haven. The EVA pod mimics a classic piece of furniture designed in 1963—five years before Kubrick’s iconic film—that made seeking privacy and personal refuge hugely commercial: Eero Aarnio’s iconic Ball Chair.

Now in 2013, British designer Freyja Sewell creates an earthy haven evolved from the groundbreaking concepts rooted in 1960s furniture: Hush, a biodegradable pod made of industrial wool felt, encloses humans and allows them a space to feel safe and have some tranquility. The cozy, acorn-shaped cave opens up a conversation about the need to be alone and just how accessible serenity is in public spaces. Currently, public zones such as offices and airports offer no kinds of escape into quiet, undisturbed, personal retreats. The need to be alone is inevitably human, and that need can be fulfilled with Hush.

“I think that Hush is going to have really the best impact in a very public space, so, museum lobbies, airports, especially spaces like offices where people are really trying to sometimes attain some peace and quiet amidst all the chaos,” says Freyja.

Public places all over the globe have already begun adopting this mentality, from Japan’s nesting Cocoon seats on the Willer Express to the Nestrests by Daniel Pouzet and Fred Frety that are suspended in parks around the Philippines. While it isn’t necessary to have a non-transparent shelter to protect us from lip-reading robots like HAL, these modern hideaways are certainly off limits to prying eyes.

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Emily Chang