Plastique Fantastique makes iSphere mask informed by 1950s sci-fi comics

Berlin-based art collective Plastique Fantastique has created an open-source, retro-futuristic face shield shaped like a fish bowl to protect wearers against coronavirus.

The helmet-like design, called the iSphere, comprises two transparent, hollow hemispheres that have been secured together and cut to create a hole for the user to fit their head through.

Plastique Fantastique founders Marco Canevacci and Yena Young were driven to design the shield as a response to new regulation. On 27 April 2020, it became mandatory for people on public transport in Berlin to keep their mouth and nose covered in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Plastique Fantastique makes iSphere mask informed by 1950s sci-fi comics

Canevacci and Young wanted to bring an element of humour to a serious object for non-medical users.

They found inspiration in science fiction comics of the 1950s, as well as visuals from "utopian movements" of the 1960s.

These include the work of various art and architecture collectives from the end of the 60's, such as avant-garde architectural group Archigram, Viennese group Haus-Rucker-Co and architecture, graphic arts, and environmental design practice Art Farm.

Plastique Fantastique makes iSphere mask informed by 1950s sci-fi comics

"This virus is very democratic: it spreads over the borders, has no preference for gender, social, cultural, or economic status," said the studio.

"[It] is changing our relation to each other and affecting our perception of reality," they added. "In this time of lockdown, we wonder about the mutation of our social life and the effects of the deprivation of physical touch."

Plastique Fantastique makes iSphere mask informed by 1950s sci-fi comics

The iShield project is an open-source design that anyone can download, produce, develop and improve.

For their version of the shield, Canevacci and Young taped two transparent, hollow PVC hemispheres together – bought from an art supply shop – and cut a hole into them that would fit around their head.

According to the duo, the whole process took around 30 minutes and the costs for the materials were about €24, which is approximately £21.

The designers also suggest customising the iShield with add-on "gadgets" such as a sunshade, a mirrored layer, an integrated microphone, a speaker or a snorkel.

Plastique Fantastique makes iSphere mask informed by 1950s sci-fi comics

New York designer Joe Doucet also designed a face shield to protect against coronavirus, which would be worn like a pair of sunglasses.

Creative studio Production Club created a personal protective suit for clubbing during a pandemic, which includes an air-tight top suit and helmet that covers the hands, arms, upper torso and head, and also has features for drink and vape consumption.

Video and photography is by Marco Barotti.

More images

Plastique Fantastique makes iSphere mask informed by 1950s sci-fi comics