Paul Cocksedge designs social-distancing picnic blanket for life after lockdown

London-based designer Paul Cocksedge's Here Comes the Sun blanket would allow people to "socialise safely and confidently" outdoors once Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have been lifted.

The open-source design comprises a looping section of material in the shape of an outline of a circle and four separate pieces of fabric cut into circles, which can be placed around the outline at six feet apart.

Called Here Comes the Sun, the blanket has been designed for a "post-lockdown future" to make sure people maintain the suggested two-metre distance while in social situations such as picnicking or sunbathing with friends.

The inspiration for the blanket came when Cocksedge was going on his "one walk a day" and felt the need to talk to and be close to people.

"It's strange that this instinct has been taken away from us and we've weirdly adapted to interacting in this new and unnatural way," he told Dezeen.

As Cocksedge explained, despite being a designer who works with sizes and measurements on a daily basis, he sometimes finds it hard to accurately interpret two meters – which is a "common problem" shared by many at the moment.

"This adds a level of worry to our future interactions," he said. "It's so easy to misjudge two metres, especially when we're out again socialising with friends and family. It will be hard to remember to keep a distance."

His Here Comes the Sun blanket is therefore a "playful answer" to this problem, reassuring people by allowing them to meet up while still socially distancing.

Described by Cocksedge as a "democratic piece of design", the blanket design is available to download for free and can be made by anyone.

The designer hopes this will encourage people to get into craft-making and pattern-cutting during lockdown to create their own versions.

"Lockdown has given rise to some amazing bursts of creativity, and I wanted to create something positive that looks towards the future," he added.

"People can craft it at home now, while they can't go out, and then use it when we're able to socialise again," he told Dezeen. "It's a way of giving you confidence to spend time with others in a safe way."

Cocksedge settled on using a circular design for the blanket as it is "an innately pleasing shape" that also acts as a reflection of the forms in which people naturally gather together.

The blanket's sun-like design allows it to be wrapped around a tree if the users want some shade.

While Cocksedge made his blanket from felt, as it is easy to cut and stitch and doesn't fray, he explains that the product can be made from any material the user desires.

"Because of the open source nature of this we're excited to see what else people experiment with," he said. "You could use an old bedsheet, or maybe collage together some leftover materials you've got, like a jacket or a pair of jeans."

Other designers have also created products and garments for life post-lockdown, when we will still have to maintain social distancing guidelines.

Carlo Ratti Associati designed a concept for a battery-powered wardrobe purifier that uses ozone to remove bacteria from people's clothes, while Production Club designed a personal protective suit for clubbing during a pandemic.

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Paul Cocksedge designs social distancing picnic blanket for life after lockdown
Paul Cocksedge designs social distancing picnic blanket for life after lockdown
Paul Cocksedge designs social distancing picnic blanket for life after lockdown