Let’s face it – gas masks might be incredibly useful in case of a catastrophe, but they’re not the most fashionable accessories and often make it difficult for users to interact with other people. But Israeli industrial designer, Zlil Lazarovich, is trying to change the way people perceive gas masks. She has created the world’s first ‘Social Gas Mask’ which not only looks sleek and stylish, but also allows for seamless social interactions.
With the new Social Gas Mask, you can enjoy movie nights on your couch, go outside without having people stare at you, and pretty much do everything you normally do. “The large window allows to show a greater range of facial expressions by exposing the upper cheeks, eyebrows and full width of the eyes area,” Lazarovich says. “The wide, cheeky shape of the filters gives the impression of a wide, healthy and happy face instead ofa long, skeleton-like one. As opposed to current masks that often hide the user’s face, restrict communication and facial expressions, and look like an alien, the Social Gas Mask has a number of features designed to offer an empowering image and a positive experience.”
Although the gas mask has been around since World War I, it’s surprising that nobody’s ever really tried to improve on the way they look. Lazarovich was inspired to take up the project after her childhood experiences during the Gulf War of 1991. “I remember the alarms, the panic, my parents putting on my mask and sitting for long periods of time in the chemically sealed room we prepared at home,” she said. “These events and memories, which are not unique to myself but are also a part of the collective memory of all Israelis, made me realize how important it is to maintain a sense of normality even in the most stressful times.”
But Lazarovich doesn’t plan to put the mask into the market just yet. Although her design is attractive and practical, she’s only calling it a ‘concept’ for now – one that facilitates better communication between family members during a moment of crisis.
Photos: Zlil Lazarovich