Stephanie Hornig
Stephanie Hornig

11 Couch Designs of the Future

Stephanie Hornig
Stephanie Hornig

Are you just gonna sit there? When you could be sprawling, cuddling, storing, or hiding? Check out 11 new concepts in sofa design.

1. Sleeping Back With Legs

The Austrian designer Stephanie Hornig describes her Camp Daybed (above) thusly: “The camp daybed is a sleeping bag with legs, on which we can relax during the day and sleep at night.” It doesn’t have much back support, but given the choice between cocooning up inside my couch or just sitting on it, call me a caterpillar every time.

2. Something for every room

Courtesy of Archello

For her final project at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, Fanny Adams designed the ultimate Leatherman of futons. It’s a double bed, it’s a couch, it’s a storage area, and it’s a table and desk. It’s all you will ever need if you ever have to go back to living in that storage unit.

3. A couch you can actually get lost in

Courtesy of Gizmag

Created by Italian designer Emanuele Magini, The Sosia (which means Doppelganger) is Play-Doh is sofa form. You can slouch it, zip it, divide it, and hide inside of it. Actually, that is way better than Play-Doh.

4. Naptime included

Courtesy of DesignRulz

Multiplo could be your everything, especially for parties. First, all the guests at your place sit in a square and tell everyone one interesting fact about themselves. Then, with a few folds, snacks are served on what is now a table. Then, you can stack them up and play fort. Lastly, lay the whole thing out for multiple person naptime. Awesome.

5. Gone to the dogs

Courtesy of Yankodesign

INU YOCHI Dog Pod, Hound Heaven.” Your dog’s sofa is boring, too. This one lets a pooch really dig himself in and get comfortable.

6. The Origami Sofa

Courtesy of Cattelan Italia

The Origami Sofa Bed by Andrea Lucatello. It’s not so much about the comfort or the versatility (although the Origami does fold down into a funky little bed)—it’s about the triangles. You just don’t see enough triangles beautifully rendered in furniture design.

7. A Bean bag straight out of Star Trek

Courtesy of Alexander Rehn

The Cay Sofa is from Swiss designer Alexander Rehn. It’s supposed to be like a hyper-intelligent bean bag, anticipating your movements. I’ll admit the video doesn’t make the product look too inviting, what with all the rolling and flopping going on. But it does look like something straight out of the Star Trek: The Next Generation prop department, which is all some people really want in a sofa.

8. Bamboo-framed Sofabed

Courtesy of Ole Jensen Design

There is some undeniably sweet about the "We are Families" Sofabed by Ole Jensen. He used only two materials—cotton and bamboo—and made a simple couch that is actually just a pile of little sleeping mats. It doesn’t look like it’s for actual sitting, but who cares? It’s so adorable!

9. For any mood

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Anima Causa Feel Seating System is balls. Yep, 80 foam balls all tied together and waiting for you to pile into any position that “reflects the ever changing emotional state of the body.” Set mine to “ennui.”

10. Reclining is the new sitting

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Carousel Sofa by Andrej Statskij is more proof that lying is the new sitting. The entire piece is made from coated polyurethane foam and was inspired by carnival rides. Carnies not included, but not difficult to obtain, either.   

11. Basically...a pillow.

Courtesy of Design Rulz

The Blandito pillow, from Oradaria Design in Florence, was intended to shake up the world of “sofa morphology.” This means, I think, that sofas should not be just stupid big chairs that don’t do anything. The Blandito can be folded into a love burrito, tied into a chair, or pinched into a big soft stool. 

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Lia
Lia Is a Disposable Pregnancy Test You Can Flush Down the Toilet
Lia
Lia

It’s a common Hollywood plot point: A character spots a discarded pregnancy test in a bathroom trash can. Surprise! Someone’s pregnancy is revealed, though they weren’t yet ready to tell anyone (and perhaps never planned on telling them at all). Lia is a new type of disposable pregnancy test designed to be flushed down the toilet to make sure no one ever experiences that kind of privacy violation, according to Glamour.

Lia hasn’t hit the market yet, but when it does, it will be the first major redesign of the home pregnancy test in decades. The first at-home pregnancy test in the U.S. debuted in 1977, and while it took two hours to show a result, it gave women the option to learn their pregnancy status with relative accuracy (it was 97 percent accurate for positive results, but only 80 percent accurate for negative results) for the first time without going to the doctor. In 1988, Unilever came out with the first wand-style pregnancy test—the plastic kind you pee on to reveal the blue stripe indicators. Since then, not much has changed about the basic design of the at-home pregnancy test except the graphics that companies use to convey the test’s results. (The science undergirding the tests has advanced over the years, though.)

Unlike the plastic sticks, Lia is disposable and can be flushed down the toilet or composted. With the shape reminiscent of a sanitary pad, it works similar to the traditional pee-stick test: You urinate on it, then wait for the stripes to appear. While it’s water-resistant enough to withstand the two minutes of pee-soaking required to get a result, the test strip is made of the type of plant fibers that go into toilet paper and will eventually disintegrate in water. It can also be composted: In one experiment, it took 10 weeks to completely degrade in soil.

A diagram of Lia's features
Lia

Like other pregnancy tests available at the drug store, Lia’s results are based on the concentration of human chorionic gonadotropin (a pregnancy hormone) in your pee. It’s FDA approved, and the company reports that it’s more than 99 percent accurate, comparable to other tests on the market.

No matter what the circumstances surrounding a pregnancy are, most people don’t want to share the fact that they could be pregnant with everyone they might share a bathroom with—most people wait several months into their pregnancy to announce the news—and even if they want to tell the world immediately, they probably don’t want to do so via trash can. Lia’s paper design makes it easy to dispose of the test without worrying about who might stumble upon your wastebasket. It’s also more sustainable and won’t clog up landfills like plastic tests. While people don’t use as many pregnancy tests as, say, plastic straws, the over-the-counter plastic pregnancy test market is still a huge one, and a contributor to environmental pollution. As a bonus, the lack of plastic makes Lia cheaper to produce, too.

Lia will eventually be available in stores and online. It’s scheduled to be released sometime in 2018.

[h/t Glamour]

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iStock
How Rich the U.S. Is Compared to the Rest of the World, Visualized
iStock
iStock

The U.S. is often called the richest country in the world. But how rich is it, really? A new infographic from How Much, spotted by Digg, explores the average household income across the 36 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). As you can see in the graphic below, the U.S. is, on average, quite rich compared to most other countries.

The infographic explores finances on two different levels. The size of each bubble corresponds to household wealth: in other words, assets minus debts. That means it takes into account savings, stocks, and other financial assets as well as loans. (It doesn't include property holdings due to a lack of data, so it doesn't encompass the big boost of wealth that comes from say, owning a penthouse overlooking Central Park in New York City.) As you can see, the U.S.'s bubble is a pretty big outlier. On average, U.S. families have a net worth of $176,100, compared to just $128,400 in the second-wealthiest country on the map, Switzerland.

Colored bubbles represent household income and wealth across the OCED
How Much

The colors of the bubbles correspond to "household net adjusted disposable income," as the OECD refers to it, which has to do with the money you bring in each year rather than what you own. That takes into account salary, income from things like stock dividends and rental properties, and government benefits (like Social Security, unemployment, food stamps, or housing subsidies). It also takes into account what each household pays in taxes, providing a snapshot of the take-home pay people actually have available to spend, rather than their pre-tax salary.

The U.S. has relatively high salaries, at $44,000 a year (the top of the scale) in disposable income. Only Switzerland, Luxembourg, and Norway have disposable income levels greater than $35,000. Mexico falls at the bottom of the scale, with average adjusted disposable incomes of less than $15,000. Most of Western Europe falls within the $25,100 to $30,000 range, while income in Eastern Europe, Israel, South Korea, and New Zealand is a little lower.

There could be a lot going on behind this data, though. The U.S. has an increasingly stratified economic system, so while the averages seem fairly high, that's probably because the few billionaires among us are skewing the numbers. The U.S. also doesn't have the social safety net offered by governments in much of the rest of the world, meaning that while we have relatively high salaries and pay lower taxes in some cases, we have to pay for things like healthcare and retirement on our own.

Read more about the OECD numbers here.

[h/t Digg]

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