The next time you’re trying to drown out the sound of your coworker’s conference call or your upstairs neighbors bowling on hardwood floors, you may wish you had this device: A cork helmet that drops down from the ceiling to surround your head in total silence.
“We are surrounded by noise pollution, and there is actually almost nothing to protect yourself from it,” Belgium-based designer Pierre-Emmanuel Vandeputte wrote in an email. “We made fashion with glasses to protect you from the sun, or to improve your vision, but nothing for your ears but ugly foam earplugs.”
The helmet is handmade from cork, which happens to be soundproof, and hangs from two pulleys attached to the ceiling. “You need to stand under it, and pull up the counter weight to let down the helmet over your head,” says Vandeputte.
Since the helmet isn’t portable, the designer imagines it as a way to create your own tiny soundproof refuge away from the rest of the city. “The object is linked to your environment, where you are, where you want to escape,” he says. “That’s why it’s directly linked to the place you are. I think it’s more a private object you have at your own house or in your own office.”
It looks a little like the non-functioning Cone of Silence from Get Smart:
Vandeputte is launching the design at the Milan Furniture Fair. But don’t expect to be able to easily buy one anytime soon.
“Most of the time, my object tells stories, they came from conceptual ideas into objects, and I’ve had some problems to imagine them into a mass production,” says Vandeputte. “Maybe I feel more comfortable to speak about unique pieces and a limited series.”