Float Cap, by Unnur Valdis
Tapping in to the wellness trend of floating in water, whether in a pool, a lake or an isolation tank, product designer Unnur Valdis has developed the Float Cap. When worn with the accompanying leg straps, the spacey–looking cap, made of neoprene and polyethylene, allows you to float effortlessly while almost fully submerged, keeping your head aloft as it drowns out noise.
Valdis was inspired by bathing in hot springs, a year-round tradition in her native Iceland. “The idea came to me as a concept for using water for meditation, and for embracing moments of tranquility,” she says. She credits the cap for the rise in group “float sessions,” which have become a trend at geothermal pools across the country. The therapeutic properties of water have long been known to help to decrease muscle tension, blood pressure and heart rate. This simple device takes you to that Zen-like state in zero time. – Kristen Vinakmens
The Sleeperie, by Hassell and Draisci studio
Halfway through a stressful day recently, I visited Sto Werkstatt, an East London showroom and gallery, to take a nap. After switching off my phone, I entered a dimly lit room lined with black sound-absorbing panels and rows of sturdy felt hammocks. I curled up in one and chilled for 10 minutes, lulled by a soundtrack of ocean waves and wafts of lavender scent. Next thing I knew, a minder was reversing the panels, à la Vanna White, to reveal a soft glow that mimicked sunlight at dawn. She handed me an espresso.
The temporary exhibition, presented in June during Clerkenwell Design Week, was produced by two forward-thinking firms, Hassell and Draisci Studio, in response to demand for office sleep pods, often from dot-com clients. “We imagined a utopia-dystopia, where staff are working and sleeping 24/7,” says Anna Rank of Hassell.
For decades, studies have shown that healthier, more restful environments demonstrate real benefits for employees’ well-being and productivity. Hassell just completed a building for Australia’s biggest health insurer, Medibank, and equipped it with interior quiet spaces. Seventy per cent of employees have already reported feeling healthier, and 66 per cent say they are more productive.
When done right, relaxation rooms like the Sleeperie help to dispel the negative associations we have with a midday nap. And with more people working away from their offices or homes, it won’t be too surprising if urban sleep parlours become a regular part of future cityscapes. “Many people equate sleep with laziness or sloth,” says Rank, who co-curated the exhibit. “It’s perverse. Even the sleep mode on your phone means it’s at the ready.”
After my little snooze, at the ready is exactly how I felt. And my phone? It was the furthest thing from my mind. – Ellen Himelfarb