That’s Interesting and uplifting! 16.04.2020

As we all try to adapt, cope, be safe and do our part to keep the Covid-19 pandemic in check, it is important to find ways to stay motivated and positive. That is why, over the next few weeks, That’s Interesting will focus on initiatives and ideas that are uplifting and helpful in these challenging times.

So, from hands-free door handles to interstellar birthing suites, here are some things that made us say “That’s interesting, and uplifting!” in the studio this week.

No touchy!

Door handles: they’re everywhere. And, for this reason, they’re prime real estate for Coronavirus. Gloves and germ-killers are one way forward… But designers have thought of a smarter solution. 3D-studio Materialise has created a new add-on to standard handles, which makes it possible for users to open and close a door with their arm. Anyone with a 3D printer can make the component, as the design file can be downloaded for free. Ideas like this hint at how the impact of Covid-19 on “normal” life will long outlive the virus. Elements of how we work, play and socialise during lockdown will inevitably permanently reshape the world. And an area that is sure to feel the butterfly effect and will require creative rethinking is how we interact with and move in shared spaces.

Go hands-free here

Let’s decorate.

These #StayAtHome days are ideal to get inspired to refresh and reimagine the rooms we find ourselves spending so much more time in. But, as it is most definitely not the right time to have builders in the house, DIY seems to be the only option… One riddled with daunting, complex-looking products and techniques that are quick to stifle the average amateur’s creative flair. That’s where Lick comes in. The home décor brand uses its visual identity and communication system to make redecorating easy and approachable. Everything from packaging to web imagery strikes the balance between aspirational and inspirational, taking out-of-category cues from everyday lifestyle brands in fashion and beauty to appeal to contemporary consumers.

Paint the house red here

Keeping track.  

One of the things that makes Covid-19 hardest to manage is its stealth. From contaminated surfaces to ambiguous or invisible symptoms, the virus has been able to spread across households and borders undetected. So in the absence (for now!) of an efficient and effective global testing mechanism, our best weapon is a combination of caution and data. The NHSX – the UK health service’s digital innovation unit – plans to trial an app where users declare whether they have Coronavirus (self-diagnosed or tested). This sends a warning to other app users that have been near them (based on their phones’ Bluetooth signal), triggering quarantine and halting the spread. Smart technology and shared data certainly have a place in the fight against the pandemic. However, it’s easy to picture this evolving into a dystopic scenario featuring Big Brother and hyper-surveillance, so it will be crucial for governments to communicate honestly and clearly on the remit, rules and duration of this system, should it be launched nationally (or even globally).

More info here

Birthing sanctuary.

After her experience in a typical maternity ward, architect Stiliyana Minkovska became motivated to imagine an alternative to what she and many others perceive as a hostile, alienating environment that is very much at odds with the emotion and significance of giving birth. So she conceived Ultima Thule, an alternative birthing suite with an interstellar, fluid feel to it. It features three undulating chairs designed to support the different stages of childbirth, and help mothers feel safe, cocooned and in control during delivery. Coronavirus has already started several conversations about innovating and rethinking ICU infrastructure and equipment. Hopefully, once the crisis is over, there will be an opportunity to broaden the discussion and bring fresh creative ideas and approaches to other wards too.

New life here

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