Designers are putting their skills to lifesaving use right now, conjuring quick and innovative solutions for combatting COVID-19. Furniture manufacturers are teaming with hospitals, building designers with scientists, graphics and product designers with engineers, all in widescale efforts to create protective equipment, boost businesses in trouble, and provide vital aid during these uncertain times.
Here are some of the best:
Foster + Partners has introduced an easily reproduced face visor for healthcare workers—even making available free instructions to make laser-cut versions.
Foster + Partners, along with many other architecture firms worldwide, unveiled designs for a face visor for healthcare workers. The instructions for this laser-cut version are available for free download.
The Sanitary Food Transfer Window, the creation of San Francisco’s Creator, is a one of a kind takeout window that slides food through takeout windows with no contact involved. And they have made their open source window design available to anyone to copy.
Quick-Deploy Intensive Care Units are the brainchild of architects Carlo Ratti Associati and Italo Rota, who repurposed shipping containers in the form of overflow respiratory ICUs for overtaxed hospitals. The open-source project, known as CURA, drew support from the World Economic Forum and is being utilised in Milan.
The Aerosol Blocking Box for Intubation Procedures is intended to aid medical personnel in the intubation process, in which a tube is placed through a patient’s mouth and into their airways to help with breathing. Brooklyn architect and product designer Arielle Assouline-Lichten (Slash Objects) replicated the project of a Taiwanese doctor to design a transparent box intended to shield medical personnel from airborne infectious particles. The result is the Aerosol Block project.
The 3D-Printed Adaptor for Manual Ventilation is a response to a worldwide shortage of ventilators. Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University’s Health Design Lab has conceptualised the Rescue Ventilation project, a resource which promotes the use of manual, hand-pumped ventilators (aka Ambu Bags) and of a 3D-printed adaptor to facilitate the process. The device, created as a team effort with architecture firm FKB and Stanford University’s Anesthesia Informatics and Media Lab, enables an extra HEPA filter to be attached to the Ambu Bags, thus lessoning the spread of viral particles while helping patients breathe. The Rescue Ventilation team has supplied the 3D printing files for the device, and an online guide for best practises.
Face shields are in short supply; to meet the pressing need for facial coverings, Cornell University design professor Jenny Sabin started Operation PPE to provide specifications for 3D-printed face masks. In addition, Foster + Partners recently posted open-source designs for visors which can be produced via a laser cutter.
Also to this end, installation artists and furniture designers Kristen Wentrcek and Andrew Zebulon have morphed their Bushwick, New York, studio into a face shield factory, producing 3,000 face shields put quickly to use at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens.
Morale-Boosting Signage is a unique help tool all its own, with Brooklyn illustrator and designer Tamara Shopsin presenting PDF posters to express good will, thanks to essential workers, and timely warnings and advisories.
Data Mapping and Alternative Care Sites, a product of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), is a new data resource for architects at work on new or expanded healthcare websites as the pandemic continues. The COVID-19 ArchMap is a repository and networking platform for designers employed by health care providers to broaden bed capacity, at times morphing vacant properties such as convention centers into makeshift hospital wards.
Easy Assembly Cots, constructed by North Carolina furniture company EJ Victor, also are changing the medical care landscape. The company has morphed its 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility into a health care supply hub. The company—in conjunction with companies in the Carolina Textile District network—has prototyped an adjustable flat-pack cot that can be built in moments. EJ Victor’s CFO, David Bennett says the manufacturer also has conceptualised medical-grade curtains to facilitate the setup of emergency triage facilities.