Denmark – With indoor air quality increasingly front of mind for consumers, Danish designers Andreas Kofoed Sørensen and Hans Høite Augustenborg are proposing a minimalist monitor to alert users to high CO2 levels. Called Canairi, the bird-shaped mechanism spins 180 degrees when CO2 levels stay above 1,000 ppm (parts per million) for longer than 10 minutes. After a window is opened, the canary rotates back to its upright position.
This subtle, non-invasive design tactic references the historical use of real canaries in coal mines to detect toxic gases in the air. Choosing to rely on a playful visual cue was also an intentional strategy amid overused digital alerts. ‘We’re so used to getting alerts and notifications from products all the time, but you tend to ignore them or forget them or turn them off again,’ says Augustenborg. ‘When you see something from the corner of your eye, you always notice it.’
In his recent opinion article for LS:N Global, Rowan Williams further explores such design tactics through the lens of creating ambient home environments.
Home technology brands should recognise the effectiveness of such subtle cues in improving indoor environments. How might you create products that employ ambient design?