A shape that can describe a magnetic field or the flow of the body’s essential energies, the toroid is found in both physics and metaphysics. It’s also the inspiration for Torii Pod, an 8-foot-high freestanding divider
by the multidisciplinary Luis Pons Design Lab that helps gather people together yet keeps them safely apart. “What started as an environmental installation evolved into a social distancing device,” Luis Pons says.
The product features 32 elliptical fiberglass rings, each of which supports a CNC cut panel of Fiberweb, a nonwoven easy-to-clean material that can be treated with an antibacterial finish, in a range of solid or translucent colors. It comes packed flat with the central aluminum axis that links all the rings together. Once assembled, each ring moves individually to create three, four, or more separate sections, and the pod can be installed indoors or out.
Torii Pod debuted last year, but it has been reconceptualized with COVID-19 regulations in mind. Depending on the configuration,
each section can contain café tables, as they do in a Miami Design District plaza, or be unfurnished, for standing separated from others in a public space. “In these highly stressful times,” Pons adds, “I want people to feel a sense of security.” That’s the type of energy we could all use.