The phrase ‘living in your own bubble’ could be taken to dystopian lengths in the era of Covid-19, if a new look from Italian design house DesignLibero becomes la mode.

The PV-powered social-distancing ‘bubble shield’, devised by Libero Rutilo and Ekaterina Shchetina in response to the coronavirus pandemic, is made from inflatable heat-welded ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, a fluorine-based plastic with high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide range of temperatures.

“We all live in our world and this ‘bubble shield’ concept proposes how the idea of a private protected zone could become physical,” say the designers. “Going one step further than social distancing measures, this plastic and inflatable ball imagines a way of walking around our cities without the fear of coming into contact with the micro-particles of a virus or even harmful air pollution.”

The DesignLibero bubble shield – made up of two halves that can be ‘unzipped’ to get in and out – is pumped up with a rucksack battery-pack, which also runs fan coils that purify the air inside using interchangeable filters.