Creative solutions to beat COVID-19 lifestyle
The healthcare emergency caused by the coronavirus has resulted in a strong and coordinated collective response. Artists, creators, designers, entrepreneurs and volunteers have mobilised to help those who need it most with a series of initiatives ranging from the design, production and distribution of masks or visors, to the creation of collaborative platforms where solutions to the pandemic are shared.
For designer Robin Mathew, design is the discipline “where science and art break even” and that this is what designers, architects, artists, entrepreneurs, authors and volunteers have sought in the collective initiatives they have launched in the fight against COVID-19.
In the absence of healthcare material and the collapse of the international market, large companies such as Renault, Seat, Volkswagen, Hyundai and Inditex have adapted their production processes to manufacture gowns, masks, respirators or face visors and distribute them to hospitals and medical centres across Spain and Europe.
From the Expo 2020 Dubai Mobility Pavilion to reusable masks. Foster+Partners has designed open-source face visors that can be removed and disinfected quickly. Its aim is to manufacture 1,000 visors a day and share its manufacturing process with other studios.
The Spanish architecture studio of Fenwick Iribarren, who designed the three Qatar 2022 World Cup stadiums has also joined this fight. Mark Fenwick, a founding partner of this firm, decided to create adapters for diving masks and turn them into medical equipment. Using several 3D printers, the Iribarren team is producing and distributing an average of 200 adapters per month to various hospitals in Spain.
In Milan, the architect Carlo Ratti and Italo Rota have worked together to create and distribute the modular ICU CURA pods. With an open-source design, CURA transforms shipping containers into “pods that can be set up near hospitals (in car parks for example) to expand intensive care capacity, while others can be used to set up independent field hospitals of different sizes”, said the creator of the project in a press conference.
In the hotel sector, Kike Sarasola, founding partner of Room Mate Group, wasted no time and, before the state of emergency was even declared in Spain, he had already closed his hotels to the public and offered the government his network to help stop the pandemic. “I offer two of my hotels in Madrid to attend to all the cases that are necessary in the face of this health crisis. In Madrid, it is assumed that cases will multiply and hotels will be turned into hospitals”, he announced through his social networks on 12 March.
Since then, 13 of the businessman’s hotels throughout the world have been turned into medical centres to accommodate healthcare workers, patients and the elderly who require this service. “Thanks to all the voluntary Roomies who, with generosity, responsibility and solidarity, are going to provide this service in our hotels. Once again, you have proven to be up to the task. Thanks to all the authorities for making this project possible and thinking about the well-being of those who are now saving lives”, said Kike Sarasola himself in a statement.
The luxury brands that used to make prêt-à-porter collections now design and make gowns and masks for healthcare workers. This is the case for Carolina Herrera, Armani, Chanel, Maya Hansen and Adolfo Dominguez, who have transformed their garment workshops into centres for the production and distribution of medical materials for medical and food centres.
The largest internet search engine has also decided to help to flatten the curve with Hack to Help:COVID-19, a digital initiative in which various artists and designers present their creations to help those affected by COVID-19. As a result, information packs on preventive measures in Braille, infographics that use mnemonic techniques to establish a hand washing protocol and gift cards offering financial support to small businesses are just some of the ideas have been revealed on this channel.
This is similar to the proposal from Valencia Capital de Diseño 2022 with its platform Esto Pasará (This Will Pass). Through this creative community, the association seeks to create a channel of cooperation to share and help society from the different branches of design and art. “It is in this time of crisis that creative thought and design can make us better, even from within our own homes. And doing so in that spirit of collaboration and solidarity that has emerged from all corners of Spain since the very beginning of this crisis”, explain the organisers.
Talks, workshops, webinar series, artistic posters to explain the various health protocols, cartoon strips, postcards or mobile apps for assistance among neighbours are some of the proposals included here. “We created Esto Pasará to connect people with the sectors of design, creativity, art, training and individual initiatives that, each and every day, bring new ideas to solve real problems that we are facing during this health crisis” the creators add.
Cover Page: Illustration of @palmera.vir
Plans for how to spend your quarantine: Take a stroll around New York or meet Frank Gehry without leaving the houseIt is time to stop. Time to take a break to enjoy the now and work on your creativity. These visual resources have made their way into homes to inspire professionals in architecture, interior design and design. Just the break you needed to fall in love, once more, with this profession.