Imagine a world so crowded that the only way you can hope to get some private space is by encasing yourself in a fabric cocoon. That's the premise behind Nutshell, a collapsable privacy shield for people suffering from social claustrophobia who just need a few minutes of peace.

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It looks a little like a body bag, and a little like a tiny tent.

Over at the blog for New York's School of Visual Arts, we learned about this project from Eden Lew, a masters student, who created this thought-provoking conceptual product. Just to be clear: this is an idea for a product — it's not actually being sold at Container Store. Originally Lew imagined it would be a privacy pod for people who need to take quiet lunch breaks without anyone bothering them. But then she expanded the idea:

In Affirming Artifacts—a course which rapidly moves students from products to services to platforms, Class of 2016 student Eden Lew created Nutshell—a speculative enterprise aimed at reducing stress and providing a kind of respite from urban life.

Students were asked to "redesign the next thing they threw out," and in seven weeks Eden Lew took a discarded sandwich wrapper on a journey through prototyping and branding, ending with Nutshell—a pod-inspired platform for productive break-taking.

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She also imagined that the Nutshell could be part of a a suite of products designed to help people meditate in crowded spaces or at work.

It sounds so peaceful, but it's hard not to feel like this is the kind of product that could only exist in a dystopia.

Read more at the SVA/NYC blog.

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