Volkswagen China’s design director has been busy lately, and not just designing new cars for the Group. Simon Loasby’s also taken on a new side project as head of design for Squair, a company that creates air purifiers. His latest design is called the Squair Mobile, which launches on Kickstarter today.
“We live in China where air quality is a critical problem, but clean air is important worldwide,” says Loasby, who began the collaboration with Squair following a meeting with the company’s CEO, Florian Windeler, a year ago.
The Squair Mobile is a compact purifier that uses non-thermal plasma to provide clean air, which Loasby refers to as “antibiotics for the air.” The technology targets pollution, smoke, pollen, odors, mold and gases by killing bacteria and viruses, ionizing and purifying the air at the rate of one cubic meter (38 cubic feet) per minute. Squair is the only company to offer this technology and the first to offer it in a mobile device.
The new purifier is the second product designed by Loasby for the company, which builds its products in China sourcing components from Germany and holds patents on the non-plasma technology. The first is the Squair Cube, which Loasby designed for the home. He started with the logo and brand strategy of the product, sourcing inspiration from Chinese coins and super modern consumer goods.
With the new Mobile product, Loasby reworked the idea with a distinct automotive aesthetic. The main goal was to create a product that fit in a cupholder. “The design is based on the Squair logo and on the Cube,” says Loasby. “Three of the corners are tied to the fourth corner and the fourth corner is softer. That’s the design language which gives you the feeling of the letter Q in top view.”
It also reflects lessons in ergonomics and packaging learned from Loasby’s years of experience in the automotive industry: “We needed to make this look really iconic, simple design. Well packaged, with filter, with fan, and with non-thermal plasma,” says Loasby. “Being a car guy, if the device was to be mobile it had to fit into a cupholder. That’s the only safe place to put it. It had to fit in a cupholder or door pocket and have a 12V supply.”
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