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The pandemic has changed daily life for all of us – creative ideas are needed quickly all over the world in the fight against the coronavirus. These innovative, practical design projects in the times of a pandemic are among the winners of the iF DESIGN AWARD 2021.
The last year turned our world upside down. But it also brought people together, right from the very beginning, to find solutions to all the problems. In addition to system-relevant professions, design and architecture professionals have become active in their fields of work – and are trying to do everything they can to help us find our way back to a new normal as quickly as possible.
Designers are used to thinking creatively and designing innovatively. During a pandemic, however, it comes down to finding solutions to problems we probably never expected. And there is no time for years of trying and testing. Quick and, above all, safe solutions are what is needed!
In addition to the rapid spread of the virus, the pandemic brought the many different problems in the healthcare system to light: in addition to the lack of qualified nursing staff, these include not enough intensive care beds and an overall outdated medical infrastructure in many countries. To contain the pandemic, the motto from the beginning was: Keep your distance, observe the rules of hygiene, wear a mask every day.
The first design trends in the wake of the pandemic are already emerging from these medical recommendations: Wearing a hygiene mask, operating things without touching them, and effectively cleaning indoor air are important components of a successful hygiene concept.
YURI induction urinal | Manufactures: Guangdong Lehua Intelligent Sanitary Ware, ARROW Home Group Inc., Foshan, China – This gold awarded urinal is specially designed for public toilets where easy cleaning and maximum hygiene are top priorities. The porcelain surface is treated with a self-cleaning glaze, which gives it an antibacterial effect (see image above).
Hygiene is one of the most important design topics in the year 2021 in the category of Product Design. Never before have there been so many entries that deal with nursing care and health. This year’s iF design winners include not one, but several mask projects, such as the "Philips Kids Fresh Air Mask" or the "Honeywell 3D Knit Mask", and a total of 27 air purifiers.
The design projects differentiate between preventive care and the care of patients who are already ill: Pioneering technologies are the basis for such creative products as "Hydroxyl Aura", an air purifier that can be worn on the body, or the electronic mask, the "Wearable Air Purifier Mask". Innovative projects like the mobile isolation unit, "MAC WARD", an air-tight system with a negative pressure function, and the "Kare Mobile Clinic Module", which can be shipped by airplane, help to treat patients as quickly as possible and relieve intensive care units. No one knows how long the pandemic will last. One thing is certain: The latest technologies and a heightened awareness of hygiene will continue to play a major role in product design in the future.
(published in May 2021)