Benjamin Hubert unveils a series of protective products as well as the brand identity for newly launched wellness start-up Never Go Alone. The British designer’s industrial design studio Layer worked closely with Vietnam-born, London-based entrepreneur Nga Nguyen, whose early exposure to Covid-19 in 2020 inspired a collection focused on essential pandemic protection (opens in new tab), ‘to empower users to visibly take ownership over their health and safety’.
Never Go Alone: a debut range of protective pandemic products
The debut edition comprises a reusable face mask, refillable hand sanitiser, and a refillable sanitising wipes case: modern-day essentials that Hubert designed following research into human behaviour and environmental concerns. ‘We collaborated with Benjamin Hubert and Layer over the past year to develop an innovative and future-focused brand, with a family of sustainable (opens in new tab) protective and wellbeing products,’ says Nguyen. ‘The team applied their multidisciplinary approach and unique design thinking to all aspects of Never Go Alone, from the branding and website to product and packaging design.’
Starting from the visual identity, developed as a simple and intuitive visual language that suggests a ‘sense of calmness and balance’, Hubert and his team wanted to create a memorable user experience, focusing on elements such as tactility, intuitive functionality and bespoke scents that elevate mundane routines. The design process was informed by observing human behaviours and research into the hygiene experience, as well as an understanding of daily rituals and on-the-go protection.
Benjamin Hubert’s face mask design
At the core of the collection is the face mask, the ultimate everyday essential, which Hubert updated with an innovative, engineered approach. Taking cues from athleisure apparel, the mask features a seamlessly bonded construction with interchangeable ear loops, and can be adjusted for maximum comfort. The mask is made of breathable, lightweight material, with a mid-layer in ultrasuede to create a structural shape, and a fine knitted inner layer featuring antibacterial fibres for extra protection. A replaceable bespoke PM2.5 filter slips into the mask’s internal pocket, offering protection from airborne particles. The sleek protective design was created to be neatly folded and stored in a specially designed case, to minimize contamination risk.
Hand sanitiser gets a design refresh
The collection’s most tactile objects include a discreet hand sanitiser bottle and a compact case for wipes. These objects were designed as sculptural containers to be proudly displayed instead of being tucked away, with a warm palette of oranges and earthy neutrals to set the collection apart from more clinical offerings. For an enhanced user experience, the objects’ ergonomic forms were achieved using soft-touch materials (including recycled plastic).
Hubert is no stranger to taking a holistic approach to human-centric design, and his studio’s recent projects have included an electric scooter for Chinese electric-car maker Nio (opens in new tab), designs for Bang & Olufsen and Muuto (opens in new tab), and the overall design for tech start-up Nolii (opens in new tab).
‘As a studio, we are focused on using the power of design to shift perceptions and solve the challenges of today and tomorrow,’ comments Hubert. ‘In today’s world, we believe it is essential to transform medical and hygiene products into sustainable lifestyle accessories that people want to use every day. Nga was inspired to create Never Go Alone by her own powerful personal journey – that story combined with the current, ongoing challenges we face across the world created an exciting opportunity.’
nevergoalone.com (opens in new tab)
Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.
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