Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/exhibitions/2318805578/

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

This exhibition, curated by MASS Design Group and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, was organized during the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic revealed what some have known for a long time: breathing is spatial. This fact has implications at the scale of the body, building, city, and planet. Everyone on Earth has been affected by the pandemic. Unequal access to housing, jobs, and health care ensured that COVID-19 hit marginalized communities harder than others. Epidemics, both in the past and in the present, have prompted the discovery of new ways to treat and prevent disease. Ideas launched to fight illness—such as introducing natural ventilation or wearing masks—can have lasting impacts on daily life. This exhibition presents architectural case studies and historical narratives alongside creative design responses to COVID-19. Every designer, artist, doctor, engineer, or neighbor featured in the exhibition asked, “How can I help?” They used open-source collaboration, rapid-response prototyping, product hacking, and social activism to create medical devices, protective gear, infographics, political posters, architecture, and community services—all with the shared aspiration to reduce structural barriers that keep us from accessing the care we all deserve. Equity is essential to a healthy world—helping communities and individuals survive, heal, and plan for the future. Ultimately, technological solutions are only effective if they reach everyone. Masks and vaccines help prevent disease when people use them. Assisted-breathing devices help patients survive when health care workers have the capacity to operate them. Fighting an epidemic requires courage, cooperation, and resource-sharing on a global scale.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805641/

  • electroencephalogram (eeg), video projection, hologauze, speakers, custom software
  • Commissioned by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Special thanks to the many people who were photographed for this project; the Unicorn Black team at G.Tec Neurotechnology GmbH

Health care devices visualize data such as heartbeats, oxygen levels, and brain waves. Increasingly, people use portable sensors to monitor their own vital signs. To create this video installation, artist and composer Samuel Stubblefield recorded brain waves from over one hundred individuals, ranging in age from 22 to 85. Wearing a Unicorn electroencephalogram (EEG) helmet, each person stood still for one minute before outstretching their arms and walking off camera. Stubblefield mapped brain data recorded from eight different sensors to parameters such as transparency, hue, and pixel blur. Gentle washes of sound and imagery change synchronously in response to the data. Images of individuals appear to sharpen and come forward as their brain waves peak. Layered together, the videos create a loose, inclusive portrait.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805655/

  • electronics
  • Courtesy of Samuel Stubblefield

Brain wave sensors can be used to design brain-controlled product interfaces, which allow hands-free interactions with technology, as well as artworks and data visualizations. The Unicorn, a device intended for artistic research, contributes to the growing use of wearable sensors in health care.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805589/

  • plastic, electronics
  • Courtesy of Cue Health, Inc.

The Cue COVID-19 Test detects the RNA of the virus that causes COVID-19. The accuracy of this portable test is similar to that of a laboratory test. The user inserts Cue’s lower nasal swab into a cartridge, which connects to the Cue Health Monitoring System. Results are sent to a mobile smart device in about 20 minutes.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805647/

  • plastic, electronics
  • Museum purchase

In April 2020, Dr. Richard Levitan observed that many COVID-19 patients in New York City were becoming afflicted with pneumonia before experiencing severe symptoms. Dr. Levitan advocated the use of pulse oximeters at home. These low-cost, over-the-counter devices detect low oxygen levels and encourage patients to seek treatment sooner.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805663/

  • plastic, electronics
  • Courtesy of Kinsa Inc.

The Kinsa phone app pairs directly to the Kinsa smart thermometer, permitting the user to receive advice from an in-house clinician regarding body temperature and other symptoms. The app also aggregates anonymized data about users’ temperatures.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805662/

  • silicone, electronics
  • Courtesy of John A. Rogers

John A. Rogers, a physical chemist and materials scientist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, creates medical-grade wearable devices. These devices can be applied to optimal parts of the body (unlike a wristwatch) and can be used to track a wide range of body processes. Sensors designed to monitor COVID-19 track coughing, vocalization, and temperature.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805586/

  • 3d-printed plastic
  • Courtesy of Aram Saeed

This tool allows people to avoid touching doorknobs, keyboards, and buttons. The hook is designed for pushing or pulling door handles. Nearly 11,000 units have been given to local hospitals, schools, and police stations in Norwich, UK.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805671/

  • machined brass
  • Museum purchase

This small brass device is designed to latch onto a key chain. The hooked surface is for pulling door handles and the subtle protrusion is for pushing buttons.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805594/

  • calcium-enriched saline solution; tabletop, abs plastic and silicone; pocket, polycarbonate, abs, and polypropylene plastic
  • Courtesy of FEND

FEND was conceived by David Edwards, a biomedical engineer specializing in the science of inhalation. FEND creates a mist of water and salt that coats the nose and trachea. By keeping the upper airways hydrated for about six hours, the salts enable clearance of inhaled allergens and pathogens, including COVID-19. FEND is being used in homes, schools, film studios, and hospitals in the USA and India.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805693/

  • bent plywood, bent laminated birch, and solid birch
  • The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. Fund, 1943

The Paimio Chair aimed to straighten the patient’s back to help them breathe and cough. The chair was made from curved plywood rather than from the tubular steel favored by many modern designers in the 1920s and 1930s. This iconic chair has furnished countless homes, offices, and lobbies.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805684/

  • cotton
  • Gift of Naomi Osaka

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805613/

  • polyethylene terephthalate glycol (pet-g) transparent plastic
  • Courtesy of Plastique Fantastique

Marco Canevacci and Yena Young are directors of the art group Plastique Fantastique. When cities around the world mandated face coverings, Canevacci and Young developed the iSphere, a transparent, hollow sphere that fits over the human head. This amusing but also serious object is reminiscent of 1950s space helmets.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805687/

  • cotton, plastic buttons, elastic tab
  • Gift of Modiste

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805677/

  • handknit, mixed recycled wool
  • Collection of Tatter Textile Library

Icelandic textile artist Ýrúrarí creates humorous knitted garments using recycled materials. In spring 2020, she knitted sculptural masks as a playful way to cope with isolation during lockdown. Her masks celebrate the ability of craft and design to bolster mental and physical health. They are not intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805605/

  • foam, plastic
  • Courtesy of University of Cambridge

The Center for Natural Material Innovation created an open-source design for HappyShield, a face shield that can be made by hand from flat plastic. Simple origami folds give structure to the face shield, which is washable and reusable. Instructions are published online in multiple languages.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805603/

  • biocompatible silicone
  • Courtesy of Sabrina Paseman

Designed by mechanical engineer Sabrina Paseman, the Essential Mask Brace is a comfortable, sustainable, and affordable alternative to an N95 respirator. Made from soft, springy silicone rubber, the device presses a surgical mask snugly against the face. The CDC endorsed the use of mask braces in April 2021.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805409/

  • silk, cotton
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805610/

  • cotton, clear plastic, elastic, velcro®
  • Courtesy of Sky Cubacub

Sky Cubacub designs clothing for “nonbinary, trans, disabled, and Mad queers of all sizes and ages.” This clear mask makes conversation easier for people who are Deaf or hard of hearing and for teachers, therapists, and multilingual people. Cubacub has designed 11 different mask closures for people with different fine motor skills; the mask on display uses Velcro®.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805679/

  • printed cotton, elastic, recycled fiber
  • Courtesy of Janique L. Robillard

Janique L. Robillard, Katja Flükiger, and Matthew Ingram founded Mobile Mask Machine in 2020. They connected with community members in various neighborhoods to host a plywood cupboard stocked with free masks hand-sewn by volunteers.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805600/

  • olefin fabric
  • Courtesy of Jiangmei Wu

Jiangmei Wu, an art and design professor at Indiana University Bloomington, created Oricool, an adjustable origami mask designed to fit on faces of different shapes. The washable mask body is folded from two layers of nonwoven polypropylene fabric, a material with significant filtration effectiveness. An insert provides even higher filtration.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805597/

  • Designed by MIT
  • silicone rubber, anodized aluminum
  • Courtesy of MIT

The TEAL Reusable Respirator is a sustainable, comfortable alternative to an N95 respirator. Designed at MIT in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the TEAL is made with soft, transparent silicone rubber, which seals comfortably against the face. A person’s mouth is visible, making communication easier.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805607/

  • 3d-printed elastomer
  • Courtesy of Casey Kerrigan

Dr. Casey Kerrigan is founder of OESH, a shoe company in Charlottesville, Virginia. In 2020, Kerrigan manufactured hundreds of reusable respirators for local health care workers. They are made from the same springy, 3D-printed material employed in OESH’s health-focused shoes. The soft, flexible design works especially well for women, whose faces are often too small for standard respirators.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805667/

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805654/

  • plastic, metal
  • Courtesy of MASS Design Group

MASS worked with Herman Miller and GHESKIO to design innovative seats and beds for cholera patients, to dignify the patient experience. The bedding fabric can be removed for cleaning, allowing it to be reused safely. Fabricated locally by Haitian metalworkers, tailors, and fiberglass professionals, the furniture was designed to be comfortable, durable, safe, and hygienic.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805694/

  • Courtesy of MASS Design Group

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805675/

  • plastic
  • Courtesy of AIRA

Robotics engineer Tyler Mantel founded the Ventilator Project to create AIRA, an emergency ventilator that can be stored compactly and mobilized quickly in regions lacking medical stockpiles, from the rural USA to middle-income nations. The prototype for AIRA uses a bee bellows to move air without an external source, enabling the device to be used outside a hospital setting. The FDA approved AIRA for emergency use in March 2021.

This object is currently on display in room 108 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805652/

  • fiberglass, electronic components
  • Courtesy of Karnaphuli Industries Limited

Shaash is engineered and manufactured in Bangladesh, where 125,000 people die each year from COPD, asthma, and other illnesses caused by air pollution. To date, 1,500 ventilators exist for a population of more than 160,000,000. To be useful in Bangladesh, Shaash must be sturdy, affordable, transportable, resistant to dust, and easy to operate and maintain. A conventional imported ventilator costs $25,000–$50,000. Shaash costs less than $1,000. A product successful in Bangladesh could transform health care in South Asia and Africa.

This object is currently on display in room 108 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805616/

  • 3d-printed plastic, scuba mask
  • Courtesy of Cristian Fracassi

Cristian Fracassi and Alessandro Romaioli are Italian engineers. Dr. Renato Favero asked them to create an open-source, 3D-printed valve to connect an air supply and filtration duct to the top of a snorkel mask, hacking the mask to create an assisted-breathing device. To date, 186,000 of these devices have been used around the world.

This object is currently on display in room 108 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805695/

  • Courtesy of MASS Design Group

This object is currently on display in room 108 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805619/

  • polyethylene terephthalate glycol (petg) plastic and polycarbonate plastic
  • Courtesy of Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Samuel Smith led a team at the Mass General Brigham Center for Covid Innovation, where hundreds of volunteers from around the globe contributed sketches and ideas in 2020. Building on these insights, a core team focused on designing a Patient Isolation Hood for use during intubation and other procedures that release dangerous virus particles. In less than a month, the concept progressed from drawings, cardboard models, and full-scale prototypes to a working product.

This object is currently on display in room 108 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805608/

Structural racism is a silent killer. Many conditions of daily life affect people’s health, including access to transportation, education, safe housing, nutritious food, clean air and water, and green space. Economic policies in the United States have routinely confined people of color in neighborhoods lacking these essential resources. Pandemics, from cholera in the early 1900s to AIDS in the 1990s, have impacted marginalized communities profoundly. These communities have been burdened disproportionately by COVID-19, sustaining higher rates of illness, death, and job loss than wealthier populations. In 2020, artists and activists denounced police violence against Black people, attacks on Asian Americans, excessive incarceration, and threats to essential workers.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805620/

Today, vast health networks sprawl across cities and regions, serving as engines of employment and economic growth. Hospital design must account for complex equipment, disaster-safe infrastructure, flexible use, future growth, and the daily flow of patients, families, and workers.

This object is currently on display in room 108 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805621/

MASS Design Group’s COVID-19 Design Response team developed guidelines in response to the rapidly evolving understanding of how the disease spreads. Building from lessons learned in the field, these design strategies were developed in partnership with key thought leaders and partners. Native communities cultivate resilience through long traditions of care. Indian Country already faced a 200,000-unit housing shortage when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. This diagram shows methods to improve existing housing and strategies for future housing.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805622/

During the COVID-19 pandemic, mutual aid organizations around the world delivered food to neighbors in need, ran errands for housebound people, and created masks and other protective equipment. Many of these loosely organized groups relied on social media and tools like Google Docs to organize volunteers.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805623/

The phrase “social distance” became common lingo early in the COVID-19 pandemic. To safely shop, work, or wait in line, people were advised to stay six feet (or two meters) apart. Simple markers guided this new behavior.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805624/

In 1882, Robert Koch (German, 1843–1910) discovered the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. At the time, one in seven people in Europe and the United States died of tuberculosis. People living in poverty were especially vulnerable. Sunlight and fresh air were common treatments for tuberculosis until 1943, when antibiotics were proven to cure the disease. Sanatoriums, special hospitals for treating and isolating tuberculosis patients, were often located in the mountains or by the sea. These costly, long-term retreats were too expensive for most people. Although some sanatoriums appear luxurious, the experience could be brutal for patients who were forced to endure long hours outside in the bitter cold. Although light doesn’t kill germs inside the body, it does support well-being. Viewing nature encourages rest and relaxation. Bright light helps treat winter depression. Ultraviolet light can disinfect rooms and equipment.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805625/

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805626/

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805627/

Although ventilation is known to prevent disease, many modern buildings are sealed environments with fixed windows or windows that are opened rarely. The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the dangers of this approach. If not adequately filtered, recirculated air spreads viral particles indoors. The COVID-19 pandemic prompted a public reckoning and challenged architects to rely less on complex mechanical systems that pollute the environment.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805628/

Since 2010, MASS Design Group has worked with the Liberia Ministry of Health in Africa on numerous projects. The masterplan for the New Redemption Hospital in Caldwell aims to avert future epidemics and deliver comprehensive services to a growing population. The New Redemption Hospital faces the prevailing wind to facilitate natural cross-ventilation. Solar chimneys enhance patient comfort by cooling the wards with fresh air from a microclimate created by the facility's planted courtyards and adjacent natural wetlands. Air inside the hospital is replaced with outside air 12 times per hour, a rate considered optimal for hospitals.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805629/

Fighting disease with masks and protective clothing is an ancient practice. The COVID-19 pandemic triggered shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE) around the world. In spring 2020, PPE was especially scarce throughout the United States in nursing homes, prisons, and care facilities for people with disabilities. Individuals came together to create face coverings for neighbors and health care workers. Engineers, artists, doctors, and designers sought to improve the comfort, cost, effectiveness, and sustainability of PPE. Their visionary ideas are shaping the future of masks and other protective gear.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805630/

Mosquitoes have been linked with illness for thousands of years. Mosquito nets became popular around the world after 1897, when Ronald Ross (British, b. India, 1857–1932) discovered that a parasite spread by mosquitoes causes malaria. Colonial governments in West Africa were slow to adopt strategies for controlling mosquitoes, such as nets, window screens, and insecticide. Promoting the racist notion that the native population harbored the malaria parasite, many colonists lived in segregated settlements, and they provided window screens only for select European facilities. Although malaria has been eradicated in North America and Europe, more than half the world’s population remains at risk today.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805631/

This poster honors farm workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was included in #FillTheWallsWithHope, a campaign that printed and installed 1,500 posters around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in summer 2020.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805632/

John Snow (British, 1813–1858) helped found epidemiology, the study of the distribution and causes of disease. In the 19th century, many people believed that cholera was caused by the unhealthy habits of people living in poverty. Snow’s scientific maps proved that contaminated water—not dirty air or an immoral lifestyle—caused the spread of cholera. Driven partly by Snow’s research, modern urban sewage systems were created to prevent the spread of diseases like cholera. Today, sewage systems can be monitored for data about disease outbreaks, including COVID-19.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805633/

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805634/

Cholera—a curable, preventable disease—did not exist in Haiti before the earthquake of 2010. The GHESKIO health center asked MASS Design Group to design a permanent facility to replace temporary cholera treatment tents. The Cholera Treatment Center creates its own water and sanitation infrastructure. A rainwater catchment system collects and filters water. The building can sanitize more than 250,000 gallons of wastewater a year, preventing sewage from contaminating the water table. Naturally daylit and ventilated, the Cholera Treatment Center helps sick patients heal with dignity. All building materials were chosen for their durability, infection-resistant properties, and/or ability to withstand extensive washing with chlorine.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805635/

Most modern ventilators actively force air into the lungs. In contrast, several recent devices change the air pressure around the body to make the chest expand and contract passively. This gentler form of ventilation is more like natural breathing. These new devices are reviving the principle of the iron lung, which saved thousands of lives during the polio epidemics of the 20th century. From a patient perspective, assisted-breathing technologies can be traumatic. Intubation can damage the mouth, throat, or lungs even as it helps people survive. Breathing devices can also trigger profound mental distress and delirium. Doctors and nurses are also at risk. Breathing devices expose health care workers to aerosolized pathogens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals suffered more from staff shortages—a human crisis—than from a lack of equipment—a technology crisis.

This object is currently on display in room 108 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805636/

Emergency hospitals and clinics are erected during wars, disasters, and epidemics. Since the 19th century, field hospitals have been prefabricated off-site or made with cheap, readily available materials. Built for temporary use, these rough facilities often stay in use well past their intended lifespans. In spring 2020, emergency hospitals were built in New York City in convention centers, stadiums, and parks. Created at enormous speed and great expense, many of these field hospitals were short-lived and underutilized. Throughout the pandemic, hospitals hit by COVID-19 surges have expanded their own facilities with tents built in parking lots. At key points in history, innovative field hospitals have been designed to test new concepts or respond to new diseases. Although most COVID-19 field hospitals have relied on standard disaster-relief designs, experimental concepts were also prototyped during the pandemic. Temporary structures and mobile units for COVID-19 testing and vaccination were successful in many cities, bringing services to schools, parks, and churches in neighborhoods that lacked access to health care.

This object is currently on display in room 109 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805637/

Social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic led cafes and restaurants to move their businesses outside. Jennifer Tobias (American, b. 1964) has photographed hundreds of streateries in New York City, ranging from homemade structures to elaborately designed retreats. Sidewalk dining has prompted debates about public space, private commerce, and the rights of cars, bikers, pedestrians, and wheelchair riders.

This object is currently on display in room 110 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805638/

Healing is spatial. Where do we go to relax, regroup, and recuperate? The jewel of the Carnegie Mansion (1902) is the conservatory. Glass and metal structures like this one were popular in grand 19th-century homes. Lower-cost sunrooms and sleeping porches were also common, capturing the healing benefits of sunlight and outdoor views.

This object is currently on display in room 110 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805639/

During the COVID-19 pandemic, visual journalists and information designers have created data-rich dashboards for tracking the disease. These tools help governments, hospitals, communities, and individuals understand the changing risk and see how marginalized communities have been disproportionately affected. Animated infographics help people understand how the disease spreads. The graphics shown in this video focus on the pandemic in the USA.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805644/

Many individuals and families want to monitor their own health at home and in their communities. Trips to a clinic or hospital can be inconvenient and intimidating, leading to delayed treatment. Such visits also expose people to potential infection. Telehealth accelerated during the COVID-19 crisis. Tracking population data helped public health officials respond to the pandemic.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805645/

Italy was the first country in the European Union to be hit hard by COVID-19. CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati in Turin, Italy created an open-source design and working prototype for an intensive care unit utilizing a shipping container. One unit can house two patients. Windows admit light and allow clinicians and family members to view patients. An inflatable structure connects the unit to the hospital and serves as a storage and changing room. Unlike a field hospital built in a tent or stadium, this negative-pressure unit isolates sick patients. Open-source plans for CURA have been downloaded and adapted for local manufacturing. Three units were built in Greece in 2021.

This object is currently on display in room 109 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805669/

  • cotton trimmings, chenille yarn, polyfill foam
  • Commissioned by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Cooper Hewitt commissioned Sahil Bagga and Sarthak Sengupta, designers in New Delhi, India, to create a tactile installation in the museum’s conservatory. Their installation uses discarded trimmings (katrans) from fabric mills, collected by local communities and spun into ropes. During lockdown in 2020, Sahil & Sarthak invented their “pom-pom” technique, using katran ropes to create furniture and textiles with a long, lush texture. Fields of Tranquility nurtures feelings of comfort and intimacy. The pieces are made by traditional weavers.

This object is currently on display in room 110 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805681/

  • polyethylene terephthalate (pet) plastic and polycarbonate plastic
  • Gift of Joe Doucet and Vue Shield LLC, Cooper Hewitt Responsive Collecting Initiative

Created by fashion designer Joe Doucet, the Vue Shield protects against contaminated droplets and splashes. Tinted versions filter out blue light from digital screens and harmful UV rays from the sun. The CDC does not recommend using face shields as a substitute for masks.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805682/

  • cotton
  • Gift of Timzy Batra, Cooper Hewitt Responsive Collecting Initiative

Designer Timzy Batra belongs to the Sikh community, which calls on men to cover their hair with a turban that conceals their ears. Today, many Sikh women also wear turbans. Batra’s adjustable cotton mask fits over a turban.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805690/

  • handcut rubylith and digital illustration on adobe illustrator, original photography edited in adobe lightroom; file types: tiff, ai, pdf
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805696/

  • silicone, electronics
  • Courtesy of John A. Rogers

John A. Rogers, a physical chemist and materials scientist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, creates medical-grade wearable devices. These devices can be applied to optimal parts of the body (unlike a wristwatch) and can be used to track a wide range of body processes. Sensors designed to monitor COVID-19 track coughing, vocalization, and temperature.

This object is currently on display in room 106 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805699/

  • cotton, polyester, cellulose diacetate, plastic
  • Museum purchase, Cooper Hewitt Responsive Collecting Initiative

Designed in Bulgaria by fashion designer Katya Lozanova, this hooded face shield buckles securely under the arms. The large shield offers a wide field of vision and ample space for a mask or eyeglasses. The shield can be unzipped for cleaning. Face shields can supplement masks, offering protection for the mouth, nose, and eyes.

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.

Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics

https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805701/

  • Jenny Tobias

This object is currently on display in room 107 in Carnegie Mansion.