Design student Eden Lew has created a prototype for a portable fabric pod called Nutshell that can be used to encase the top half of the body when time out from the workplace is required.
Part of Eden Lew's work for the Products of Design course at New York's School of Visual Arts, Nutshell was designed for students and workers who habitually skip proper work breaks as a device to encourage them to rest.
When fully extended, the product surrounds the user in fabric from the torso and up over the head, supported by circular ribs, concealing them inside a canvas "shell".
Available in three different styles, it is wearable and collapsible, meaning that it can be used throughout the day for activities like snatching naps or eating lunch in solitude.
Nutshell has been developed in several varieties – the Nutshell Go is a simple model and can be pulled over the wearer's head. Nutshell Black is similar except that it is made from opaque material that plunges the user into a dark, warm and isolated space, while Headshell is a padded hood that is worn over the shoulders like a backpack.
Lew's inspiration for Nutshell stemmed from her own personal experiences with a hectic lifestyle.
"I'm a new New York transplant from Texas and the culture shock has been incredible," Lew told Dezeen. "I was swept away by the city's never-ending activity and graduate school has been fast-paced and demanding."
"I forget to eat meals because I never want to stop designing, and I'm constantly surrounded by excitement and activities," she said. "The Nutshell became my way of finding some personal peace and quiet, and I bet there are others out there who feel the same way."
As part of the project, Lew created a concept enterprise called Nutshell Labs to promote "social solitude" – her idea that embracing seclusion does not have to be a lonely act, but a supported one. The designer also drafted an accompanying conceptual app that would offer guided meditation and curated podcasts for the user to listen to from within the Nutshell.
Describing the user experience, Lew told Dezeen that the prototypes work "pretty well".
"The Nutshell Go is fun to wear and easy to pull over the head," she said. "When inside, I feel vulnerable yet safe, however I've only worn it in the studio around my peers. I've fallen asleep countless times in the Nutshell Blackout – it's called Blackout for a reason."
"If I create more Nutshells I'll have to figure out ventilation, it's a little warm in there," Lew added.