by Jincy IypeMay 25, 2020
Social distancing does not necessarily have to compromise closeness, as we can see from countless viral videos doing rounds on the internet, of people having dates across terraces and a lot of energetic singing. Of course, right now we shouldn’t be in close proximity with anyone (no, getting a massage is not a ‘right’), but we can think of new ways to maintain the required two metre distance, and still ‘socialise’. As social spacing might well continue to become a staple reality and a safety measure even after the lockdown is over, Paul Cocksedge Studio, led by acclaimed British designer Paul Cocksedge, has proposed a design solution to continue social distancing, with Here Comes The Sun, for the post lockdown world.
Here Comes The Sun effectively aims to aid people socialise safely, and confidently, once the restrictions have been uplifted in the future. The circular yellow blanket has been designed keeping in mind the two metre mandatory spacing, and allow for a range of small social gatherings, such as a picnic in the park, or sunbathing with friends. The design of the blanket is also free to download, in order to encourage people to get inspired and form their own versions of it – this will also provide a welcome break from the daily quarantine routine we have all set to get through this pandemic (ala Groundhog Day), by indulging in some crafts and pattern cutting.
“We used yellow felt for our prototype, because it’s easy to cut and doesn’t fray. But because of the open source nature of Here Comes The Sun, you can use any material that you like. We are excited to see how different fabrics might change the nature of it,” reflects Cocksedge, when asked about his choice of material and colour for the design proposal.
According to Cocksedge, the lockdown has inspired bursts of creativity across industries and disciplines. “I wanted to create something positive, that looks towards the future. Technology has been a huge help in the recent weeks, allowing people to stay connected digitally. But there’s a real feeling of how desperate people are to get back out in the world and interact with each other in real life. Post-lockdown, that socialising comes with uncertainty.”
Even though this is an extremely stressful time for a lot of people, Cocksedge believes that for some of us, it is a chance for renewed self-reflection, which in turn must act as a catalyst for us to adapt, to the new ‘normal’. “It is a moment to potentially reconfigure our lives to fit a rhythm that suits us better - an opportunity for change, after the lockdown is over,” he shares. “Ultimately, people will want to get back to some sort of normalcy, but that shouldn't be at the expense of anyone’s health. In terms of the design industry, I hope that we are going to use all the technological tools that we can, combined with medical advice, to get back to working safely, soon.”
Cocksedge continues, “As a designer that works with sizes and measurements on a daily basis, I sometimes find it hard to accurately interpret two meters - which is a common problem we are all having at the moment. It adds a level of worry to our future interactions. This blanket is a playful answer to that and works as a democratic piece of design that anyone can download and make”.
We are all quite aware of how our selfish lifestyles have proven detrimental to planet earth. Cocksedge points out that everyone, especially designers, must make sure to alter our ways once we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. He recollects watching an interview with David Attenborough, who was asked a question about what we should be thinking about for the future. “His answer was ‘just don’t waste’, and that’s had a lot of meaning for me. I am digesting that in terms of the work I do and how I produce it.”
Here Comes The Sun also holds a very personal meaning for Cocksedge, who shares with us that the proposal’s name is inspired by The Beatles song, and drawn from his deep rooted associations. “It is one of my favourite songs - and the words have a resonance to what I (and we) are feeling right now... feeling sad, a bit trapped, but looking forward with hope. This song is nothing but comfort for me. It was the first song I ever heard, my mom would sing it to me when I had a bad dream, and the night my dad moved out when my parent's divorce was final, I listened to this on the cassette player. Now it's one of my ‘recovery from depression’ songs. I am not fully recovered, in fact I just started treatment, but this song makes me smile with the assurance that in my life the sun will come. It seems like when I am about to fall apart, The Beatles have a song that saves me!”
There is no doubt we are a resilient and creative species. The design industry continues to show morale support, and continues to innovate, ushering in slices of hope and colour amid cities and communities stricken by the COVID–19 pandemic.
"Here comes the sun, Here comes the sun, And I say, it's all right" - Here Comes The Sun, Abbey Road, The Beatles
Start printing and crafting your own miniature, post lockdown blanket - access and download the free template for Here Comes The Sun designed by Paul Cocksedge, here.