I feel strangely nervous when designer Lee McCormack stops in front of an object that clearly belongs in outer space and invites me to climb into its cockpit.
Once inside, however, I relax. The egg-shaped isolation pod I am here to try out is much bigger than it looks from the outside and (after close inspection) doesn’t seem to have any locks on the doors, should I suddenly feel the need to escape.
I am at the Science Museum, where the Ovei – created by the Oculas design team – is on show as part of an exhibition called “Fast Forward”. Two other pods will also appear in “The House of the Future” at this year’s Grand Designs Live London.
Designed to enable people to shut themselves away from the outside world to relax, focus or simply enjoy their favourite TV shows, music tracks or computer games in peace, an Ovei has to be the ultimate boy’s toy. I can picture a (perhaps pre-credit crunch) derivatives dealer or corporate king destressing in it after a feverish day in the City.
The pod I’m seated in has customised “wellbeing” features including a diagnostic tool that claims to capture data from its occupant that can then be sent for analysis. Press a button and it turns into a massage chair, with aromatherapy oils pumped into the atmosphere.
The pod is certainly comfortable, and part of me would secretly relish an immediate solution to arguments over who wants to watch what on television. But then I remember: I actually like the company of others, and the thought of spending £50,000 just to get my own way with the remote reminds me of the virtues of compromising – just occasionally.