Through February 20, 2023
Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street
As a response to the world that we find ourselves in, MASS Design Group and Cooper Hewitt created this exhibit during the unraveling of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Breathing is spatial,” the exhibition states, and therefore it impacts the scale of the body, building, city, and entire planet. And, though most countries in the world have been affected by the pandemic, marginalized communities have been impacted more dramatically than others, due to unequal access to housing, jobs, and healthcare.
The exhibition provides architectural case studies and historical narratives in tandem with creative design responses to COVID-19. Featured designers, artists, and engineers worked towards addressing a question: “How can I help?”
Among the pieces on display is a rubber mask brace conceived by two engineers, Sabrina and Katherine Paseman, who are also sisters from the San Francisco Bay Area. They designed the Essential Mask brace in response to the critical mask shortage during the pandemic. This rubber brace helped give surgical masks the same secure seal around the nose and mouth that N95 masks provide.
Also included in the exhibition are designed medical devices, protective gear, infographics, political posters, architecture, and community services—all with the shared intention to reduce structural hurdles that isolate certain sections of society from accessing the care that everyone deserves. Learn more here.