New Design May Revolutionize Sharing Armrests With Strangers

And where will we lean then?

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Traveling can force a lot of uncomfortable intimacy between strangers, and nowhere is that more apparent than the fraught battleground of armrests–but Hong Kong-based Paperclip Design might have made a slight alteration to the traditional model and ended the Personal Space Wars for good.

The Paperclip Armrest has multiple awards to its credit, but the company’s design barely deviates from armrests of old. Their website explains:

The Paperclip Armrest makes use of the 3rd dimension- vertical space- to add a second deck and thus double the surface available. Most people assume this means neighbors need to be of specific heights to make that work. In fact, our arms are flexible and can easily adapt to different heights: the forearm pivots around the shoulder joint, while swinging the elbow forward also raises it. The key is that the gap between the upper level of the armrest and the backrest makes way for the arm using the lower level.


Fact: Ghost Trains only have pink armrests.

The slight readjustment sounds so simple that I feel like it has to work– although this one image from Paperclip’s website is slightly disconcerting.


Hmmm… I might be more comfortable passive aggressively nudging my anonymous seatmate than letting them rest their arm in my elbow pit. Cosmo told me the inside of the elbow is an erogenous zone, and I am not looking  fall in love right now. Hopefully the angle of the picture just makes the passenger’s positions seem unreasonably close.

Now what other grievances can the travel hackers over at Paperclip devise: is there a way to travel without being hopelessly overwhelmed by our anonymity in the context of the wider world? Well then, can we at least improve airplane bathrooms?

(via Gizmodo, images via Paperclip Design)

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