Starving themselves as their core temperature plummets, hibernating animals sit out the winter inside caves, tree holes, burrows and rotting logs. For humans, "hibernation" is a far more cushy affair, complete with carbs, blankets and HBO marathons with the heat cranked up.
Now, European designers are taking human hibernation to the next level with custom-built adult forts for holing up in, away from the buzz of the iPhone.
Recognizing that the tether of mobile technology has made moments of private respite next to impossible, these designers touch on a certain nostalgia – remember the blanket forts of your pre-Internet childhood?
The Globe spoke with three of them about their prototypes for avoiding other people.
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Days are short and winters long in Helsinki. Enter Lyhty, which means lantern in Finnish, explains designer and architect Erkko Aarti. Crafted out of steel and fabric, Lyhty is intended to “ease the exhaustion” of the season, says Aarti, 27.
The glowing asymmetrical sphere is now on a test run at a startup hub at Helsinki’s Aalto University. “The tired, young entrepreneurs love to take short and also longer naps in Lyhty,” said Aarti, who’s collaborating with a furniture company to manufacture the spacey orb for sale.
Want to lie torpid in your own Lyhty? The price tag will likely top $8,900. envisions it inside hotel lobbies, airports, libraries, and public spaces where commuters congregate. As well, it could find a place in the middle of “hectic open offices.” Hibernating at work: solid career move.
Moody Nest, Germany
“The basic idea was to block out the world,” Frankfurt designer Hanna Ernsting says of her creation, a fabric festooned couch called Moody Nest.
“With cushions and blankets, kids like to build nests. It gave you this comfortable feeling of being very protected. As a grownup that’s something you still seek and like but you’re not really allowed it,” said Ernsting, 30. “We had the idea of sinking into this cover and being absorbed by it, really disappearing from the day.” The culmination of Ernsting’s design diploma project, Moody Nest has attracted attention on Tumblr where it’s often compared with a pea.
Ernsting’s working on a saleable version; she says Canadian college kids in particular contact her, hoping to buy the blob for their dorm rooms. Ernsting explains that Moody Nest retains whatever shape the last person occupying it left it in, mimicking his or her mood: “It tells you something about the person who was in there before.” She encourages Moody Nest for adults who feel crabby, hungover or “dreamy” and for those generally in need of a timeout.
Cozy Shelter, Holland
“What I wanted to make was some kind of fake safety,” says Lambert Kamps, the Dutch creator of Cozy Shelter. An inflatable structure, “the outside looks like a sandbag structure that soldiers used to hide behind in war zones. The inside is all blankets that remind of the safety of your grandmother. Inside you feel like you’re in some kind of childhood,” said Kamps, 39.
Cozy Shelter has been making the rounds at various European design festivals, where Kamps has watched people interact with it. He said children are “impossible to get out” of the plush, pastel-coloured bowels of the shelter. Teens, millennials and Gen Xers use it “as a chat room. They start Facebooking and Tweeting. Sometimes they sleep.” Older adults are more reserved, some not even hazarding a visit inside. “They’re not so free any more.”