Design initiatives showcasing resilience through creativity during the pandemic
Around the globe over the past months we have seen singing on balconies and workouts on rooftops – examples of human life shifting gears. In the creative world, we’ve been inspired by brands who have stepped up to use design expertise to devise ventilators, sanitiser and masks. Now we are focusing the lens on what the design and art community is sharing on virtual platforms and beyond to keep energised. While we realign to this new pace and rhythm of daily life, institutions, designers and artists are expanding horizons and showing how design can continue to innovate and unite.
Jumpthegap by Roca
Barcelona-based brand Roca are changing the course of its annual design contest for the ninth edition. This year, it is offering the platform as a space to share ideas and projects on products or services related to the functions of the bathroom space, such as sanitation, hygiene, and wellbeing as a response to the COVID 19 pandemic. Held in colaboration with Barcelona Design Center, the initiative is inviting designers and architects to propose their creative solutions from 8-23 June of which five selected projects will be annouced on 23 July. Pictured: Iranian designer Mohammad Reza Shahmohammadi’s winning design from the 7th edition – a clever rethink of the bathtub shape called Panacea.
Canadian COVID Creators Network
Growing concerns for the need for personal protective equipment (PPE) has seen designers rise to the occasion. Over in Canada, architecture studio PARTISANS has joined forces community services group WoodGreen to launch Canadian COVID Creators Network – a project that encouragesthe creative community to use their expertise to 3D print and distribute shields. Open source designs have been created by industrial design model shop lead Teddy Shropshire, and can be downloaded from a website designed by Toronto-based studio, Puncture.
‘Here Comes The Sun’ by Paul Cocksedge Studio
Planning for the future can be tricky right now, but British designer Paul Cocksedge has turned the potential long-term social distancing rules into a new project. Titled ‘Here comes the sun,’ a proposal for a post-lockdown future sees him realise a blanket where people are guided to sit two metres apart, as advised by the government. Thought to be used during social situations when lockdown eases, Cocksedge’s design is downloadable, and encourages people to devise their own using his template (pictured), also offering a creative challenge at home.
‘As a designer that works with sizes and measurements on a daily basis, I sometimes find it hard to accurately interpret two metres - which is a common problem we’re all having at the moment.’ says Cocksedge. ‘It adds a level of worry to our future interactions. This blanket is a playful answer to that and works as a democratic piece of design that anyone can download and make.’ Next step with the project is to develope a 3D furniture version. Watch this space.
This initiative is the brainchild of photographer James Holborow, who launched this at the point when freelance incomes were looking uncertain. The online print shop functions as a platform for creatives to continue to sell their work, while also donating proceeds to The Trussell Trust, a UK based charity servicing food banks around the country. Artists and photographers on the roster include the likes of Thea Løvstad, Liam Mertens (print pictured) and Scott Licznerski. ‘Many self-employed creatives are faced with losing income [when asked to isolate], with the majority of upcoming jobs cancelled,’ says Holborow. ‘ServiceShop aims to help creatives by both promoting their art and generating a source of income – however small – to aid them through this tough time. By championing their work, we hope to be of some support to artists amid the crisis.’
Jaime Hayon Instagram drawing
The Spanish designer and artist has been sharing his whimsical drawings on social media, and inviting his followers to print and get creative with colouring these in. Reaching those as home, Hayon’s drawing leaves space for individuals to fill in their country flag and name, creating a unique artwork in collaboration with the Valencia-based creative himself. Hayon has been sharing these over on his handle @jaimehayon – the results are vibrant, motivating and intricate.
Isolation chair by Max Enrich
While being at home, Barcelona-based designer Max Enrich was keen to build a chair, ‘but [I] rapidly realised I had no materials at home.’ So he turned to what he did have – Alpen Swiss Style muesli and Kellogg’s choco krispies in his kitchen cupboard. He posted some of these crafted creations onto his feed, and asked his followers to get resourceful in their domestic environments too. Watch the hashtag #isolationchair for seating that is amusingly contemporary, and made out from everything from olives, shoes, books, sponges and more.
Sam Baron’s still lifes
Knowing that visual therapy is key, French designer Sam Baron is asking his community to take ‘still-life images of the objects we like, cherish, use, kept, designed, found... I’d like to invite you to gather up some of your favourite objects from around your house and create a still life image of them, and send the image(s) to me along with a short description of what you photographed or how it reflects what you’re thinking right now.’ Baron will collect these and make an edit along with the Sight Unseen team, and build a moodboard for visitors to explore on the website.
Fountain of Hygiene: Sanitiser Design Competition
Raising money for Red Cross, London-based creative studio Bompass & Parr are launching a competition for creatives, designers, makers and architects to rethink traditional hand sanitiser pumps. In the hope to reframe how we think about global health, the challenge asks individuals to consider social and environmental impact too. Results will be viewable online and chosen entries will go on view at London’s Design Museum once it reopens and auctioned by Christie’s for the charity. ‘We hope that the shortlisted entries of the Sanitiser Design Competition will demonstrate the importance of research and innovative thinking,’ says Tim Marlow, chief executive and director of Design Museum. ‘We look forward to seeing the entries at the museum and raising money for an important cause.’
Using its network of female creatives, the visual arts member’s club, founded by Joanna Payne in 2015, is connecting freelancers with companies via a digital forum. While its events are currently on hold, Marguerite London is reaching communities via social media, offering opportunities to those who may be struggling to find work. The initiative has also launched FEMpowerment on its IGTV, filled with online talks, workshops and exercise classes.
Milano Art Guide – The Colouring Book
On the back of exhibition cancellations in Milan, this project, by Rossella Farinotti and Gianmaria Biancuzzi, allows people to engage with artworks in a new experimental way. Download a plethora of contemporary artworks – including whimsical pieces like L.O.V.E by Maurizio Cattelan (pictured) and domestic illustrations from Linda Carrara – and get your colouring kit out.
From The Underground to the Cloud
Charity institution University of the Underground, based between Amsterdam and London, is responding to the closure of universities and schools with an open call to designers, filmmakers, musicians, artists, architects, giving them the opportunity to host a lecture, workshop or tutorial online, and supporting them as a freelancer during this time. Kicking off with a programme from its board members including the likes of Rose McGowan, Damian Bradfield, Paola Antonelli and Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun, From the Underground to the Cloud’s callout closes on 3 April.
Hope and Togetherness at Carpenters Workshop Gallery
In the name of camaraderie, Carpenters Workshop Gallery are launching a new exhibition in its digital viewing room on 3 April. Here, under the theme of Hope and Togetherness, works including Atelier Van Lieshout’s Family Lamp and Minimal Kiss, and the calming and ethereal Flylight by Studio DRIFT (pictured) can be found. Coinciding with this, the gallery are taking us backstage on its Instagram account, to explore inside some of these artist’s studios, and get a glimpse of what they are currently working on. §