Benjamin Hubert’s studio Layer has come up with a concept for an edibles subscription service that will deliver candy and teas with tiny doses of hallucinogenic drugs in anticipation of a future where the substances are legalized.
The Keia service sees users signing up to receive small, regular doses of a psychedelic with the goal of improving their mental and emotional well-being.
These would come in the form of three different consumable products: a rice cake topped with lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), a loose ayahuasca tea and a lozenge containing psilocybin – the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Layer envisions the products being packaged in biomaterials derived from nature and intended to evoke feelings of awe and appreciation.
Hubert says his team initiated the project to “start a conversation about a topic that we find interesting” and to shake some of the stigma surrounding psychedelics, which have been the focus of increased medical research in recent years.
“The project hopes to explore ways in which we can dispel previous notions about psychedelics and remove them from the context of more extreme hallucinogenic stereotypes,” he told Dezeen.
“By reshaping psychedelics into a less niche space and less alienating formats, we may be able to change how they are accepted in the mainstream while still retaining an air of the unexpected.”
Keia’s psilocybin lozenges are presented as gummy bears in various shapes, with swirling patterns reminiscent of glass marbles. Layer says preliminary research into microdosing suggests a food like this could help calm anxiety, increase creativity and enhance empathy.
The LSD rice paper cone, which the studio says can raise energy levels and improve focus, is pastel-colored and folded into delicate origami-like shapes.
Intended to be drunk rather than eaten, the final consumable consists of an herbal hallucinogenic concoction called ayahuasca. Originally developed by indigenous communities in Amazonia, Layer claims it can help reduce stress and increase feelings of compassion and connection with others when taken in microdoses.
For the keia concept, the necessary tea leaves and stems are compressed into a pebble-like puck, occasionally dotted with glowing petals.
Each product is provided in boxes of eight to ten – enough for a month’s supply – with packaging designed to reflect the contents. For example, the packaging for the psilocybin lozenges would be grown from hemp and mycelium, the root-like structure of a mushroom.
The ayahuasca tea container would be formed from pressed tea stems, coffee grounds, and wheat bran, while the LSD packaging would be made from wheat farming waste, a nod to the fact that LSD was born from experiments with the ergot fungus, which grows on grains.
Some of the materials used in Layer’s packaging concepts are already capable of mass production, while others are “a bit further away,” according to Hubert.
Keia’s overall branding aims to position psychedelics as part of the wellness market without completely stripping the drugs of their distinctive properties.
To evoke a connection to nature and mindfulness, Layer introduced elements like the classic serif trademark and a muted color scheme inspired by forests.
“It would be relatively easy to strip away the personality and move the designs to a safe, mainstream vitamin or health product space that consumers expect — think jelly beans and apothecary bottles,” Hubert said.
“The challenge was to maintain a visually compelling and unusual mix of nature, medicine, consumables and materials without being off-putting or falling back on hallucinogenic stereotypical ideas.”
While a service like Keia would currently be illegal almost anywhere in the world, Hubert says the prospect of legalization is “close enough” to make Layer investigate the project, since some US states have already decriminalized psilocybin.
According to a recent research report, the market for psychedelic drugs is expected to more than double between 2020 and 2027, reaching a value of US$10.75 billion.
Another design studio that has envisioned products for the future use of psychedelics is NewTerritory, which has created a concept for an inhaler that focuses on breathwork and mindful rituals.
These concepts share some commonalities with newer product designs for cannabis, which is also often positioned as a wellness product in the US and Canada through dispensaries such as Dosset and Edition.