Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics
Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics, curated by MASS 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.
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.
Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics is on view from December 10, 2021 through February 20, 2023 at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York.
The exhibition complements MASS’s latest book The Architecture of Health: Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity (Nov. 2021), published by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (Artbook DAP, distributors). The book examines how our built world was shaped by disease and reveals how historical examples can offer us caution and inspiration.
Curatorial team: MASS Design Group (Regina Chen, Jeffrey Mansfield, Michael Murphy, Morgan O’Hara and Maggie Stern). Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum (Ellen Lupton, senior curator of contemporary design, and Julie Pastor, curatorial assistant)
Exhibition designer: MASS Design Group (Annie Wang)
Graphic designers: Span (Alyssa Arnesen and Bud Rodecker) and Rick Valicenti
Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics is made possible with major support from Crystal and Chris Sacca. Generous support is also provided by Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.
About Cooper Hewitt
Cooper Hewitt is America’s design museum. Inclusive, innovative and experimental, the museum’s dynamic exhibitions, education programs, master’s program, publications and online resources inspire, educate and empower people through design. An integral part of the Smithsonian Institution—the world’s largest museum, education and research complex—Cooper Hewitt is located on New York City’s Museum Mile in the historic, landmark Carnegie Mansion. Steward of one of the world’s most diverse and comprehensive design collections—over 215,000 objects that range from an ancient Egyptian faience cup dating to about 1100 BC to contemporary 3D-printed objects and digital code—Cooper Hewitt welcomes everyone to discover the importance of design and its power to change the world.
For more information, visit www.cooperhewitt.org
“Design and Healing" Exhibition at the Cooper Hewitt Offers Creative Responses to Epidemics
Architectural Record, January 7, 2022
How Architecture Has Responded to Health Emergencies
Common Edge, December 28, 2021
A Timely Cooper Hewitt Museum Exhibit Prompts Designers To Overcome The Disinformation Of Anti-Vaxxers
Forbes, December 24, 2021
A history of design innovations emerging from health crises
Quartz, December 23, 2021
Can Architecture and Design Facilitate Healing?
Metropolis, December 21, 2021
Epidemics: A Force for Life-Changing Innovation
The New York Times, December 21, 2021
How to survive a pandemic? Courage, resiliency and resistance to bad ideas
The Washington Post, December 16, 2021
Designing for a Pandemic
Wall Street Journal, December 3, 2021