May 1, 2009 / 3:39 AM / 8 years ago

Design show offers pods we can escape in

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Call it a me-Pod. If you want to get away from global warming, unseasonal flu or the recession, or just need a family-proof space to work at home, designers at a London show have the cocoon for you.

The Grand Designs Live exhibition in London is this week presenting self-contained, stand-alone accommodations for work, sleep, entertainment -- even steam-therapy.

There’s a comforting nostalgia in the fact that the future they see mirrors a 1960s design favorite -- it’s pod-shaped.

“You can escape the world,” said Lee Baldry, host of the House of the Future stand which displays no fewer than five pods including one called the Ovei which he calls the ultimate pod.

“It’s got 5.1 surround sound, climate-control for air conditioning, Blu-Ray for high definition, it’s got a PC and a games console as well,” he said.

For power-snoozing there’s the Napshell -- billed as “one of the most revolutionary sleeping environments ever made.” The Elegance Bath of The Future comes with a lid and offers bubble-baths, steam therapy and infra-red sauna.

For the green consumer, the gardenARK is much more than a shed -- incorporating solar panel, wind turbine and sheep’s wool for insulation.

“It’s fully supplied kit,” said its promoter, Tensen Buildings Managing Director Kristina Rayko. “It’s off-grid and it’s zero-carbon.”

And perhaps of topical appeal to workers wary of sniffling colleagues, the officePOD is making its debut. “There’s been an enormous level of interest,” said OfficePOD Managing Director David Forbes.

The self-contained unit would fit in a small garden and free its owner from the usual distractions of an office, or a facasciato contaxmily home. Forbes said the initial concept was a standalone workspace to rent to employers for 5,000 pounds ($7,400) a year.

Even if the idea feels slightly retro, exhibition host and television personality Kevin McCloud thinks pods are an idea whose economic time has come.

“I think the idea of the pod is exciting because it’s 20,000 pounds ($29,680), not 200,000 pounds,” he said.

($1=.6739 Pound)

Editing by Sara Ledwith and Paul Casciato

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