Hug is a semi-make furniture kit that brings in craft through various upholstery methods to address anxiety in the US. As crafting activities have been proven to decrease stress hormone levels by 75% after as little as 45 minutes of crafting, Hug allows the user to be a part of the design process within their own home. Not only is the kit affordable, but it also includes all of the tools, materials, and supplies necessary for the user to build and design their very own chair. The user simply begins by assembling the base frame of the chair using the components included in the kit before upholstering each cushion one-by-one using their chosen crafting method (punch needling, knitting, crocheting, etc.). From building the frame to learning how to start the upholstery journey, Hug's aim is to ease anxiety by providing pathways to comfort through product design.
Anxiety and mood disorders are responsible for five million deaths each year, worldwide. Hug is more than just a chair, as it aims to address this massive and devastating problem that is affecting the population of the US and the world. Daily stresses and anxiety interfere with the lives of 72% of Americans, with one in five adults living with diagnosed anxiety disorders. America is home to the highest number of stressed, anxious, and sad people in the world.
In fact, 33% of the population has reported having mental health issues, translating to roughly 110 million people. Statistics and rates of anxiety like these are unacceptable and need to stop, which is why Hug's objective was to investigate the emotional relationships that humans share with physical products and activate them in order to address anxiety in the US. Taking insights and identified opportunity areas into account brought about the concept to create a furniture kit that reduces anxiety by providing users with a means of crafting, as studies have shown that crafting for as little as 45 minutes can lower stress hormone levels by 75%.
Hug considers social/cultural factors through its mission of aiming to reduce and ease anxiety in adults in the US and the rest of the world. Anxiety is a fluid, full-body experience that is tied to the senses and influenced by surroundings. Currently, we lack effective ways to combat it other than psychotherapy and prescribed medications, which is not ideal. People want natural, fast-acting solutions that can provide them with immediate anxiety relief, and will seek and invest in products that help them to do so. It has also been proven that crafting decreases anxiety levels, and people want to continue to find ways to be creative in the future.
Hug was designed to serve exactly this purpose, by providing users with a pathway to comfort where they can interact with something tangible and be creative all while easing their anxiety quickly. Anxiety can be extremely debilitating, and Hug is here to help people to overcome it while building stronger emotional relationships with the physical world around them, making them more productive members of society. Working US adults between the ages of 30 and 44 are the most impacted by anxiety compared to any other demographic. This age demographic encompasses roughly 65 million people; enough to fill 812 sports stadiums.
These individuals prioritize taking care of themselves and others, and will seek creative products and solutions that will help them to do this, without adding to existing stresses. Hug has this in mind and is intended to take worry out of the user's experience, from the moment the kit arrives at the home, to the moment they can relax in their custom chair. Because the kit contains all of the tools and pieces needed to assemble and construct the chair as well as complete the upholstery, the user is not left worrying about whether or not they have all of the proper supplies to get the job done. On top of that, Hug comes with easy to follow, visual step-by-step instructions to further simplify the assembly and crafting process.
Through the crafting experience especially, the user's anxiety will be eased, they will build a tighter emotional connection with the product (since it's something they made themselves), and they also will associate the piece with calmness and comfort. As Hug was created to address anxiety, it was designed with warmth and softness in mind, from its packaging to the chair as a whole. Starting with the base frame of the chair, Hug presents an elegant and rounded, yet friendly and approachable form, where there are no hard edges to be found. The user is presented with two material options for the frame, black walnut wood with smooth characteristic indentations, or powder coated metal (colored to their choice) with fabric covered screw caps for an added touch of softness. Hug was designed to provide not only emotional comfort, but its width and dimensions were determined based on sitting positions and angles that provide optimal physical comfort.
Accompanying the frame are three different upholstery variations that not only incorporate crafting to ease anxiety, but are easy to complete as well, whenever the user is feeling anxious. These three variations include cylindrical cushions that slot onto the chair, a larger padded blanket to be tucked between the dowels, and a series of long, noodle-like cushions that can be weaved around the seatpan of the chair however the user pleases.
The crafting method is also up to the discretion of the user, and can be changed over time in order to match interior changes, or to soothe their anxiety again and again. Hug's packaging was designed to be equally as warm, calm, and friendly, both in visuals and language from the exterior of the box, down to the instruction booklet. Hug is innovative in its category by not only easing anxiety, but also by allowing the user to design their own furniture piece through hand-crafted upholstery in the comfort of their own home.