Reading Time: 5 min | May 2021

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Innovative Design Projects During a Pandemic

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.


MAC WARD | Manufacturer: Fu Jen Catholic University Hospital, New Taipei City, Taiwan
MAC WARD is a mobile intensive care unit that meets the highest healthcare standards. Based on individual components, it can be transported by air and positioned flexibly to provide optimal patient care.
Philips Kids Fresh Air Mask | Manufacturer: Philips, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Specially designed to fit Chinese children, this active mask has an adjustable head strap for improved fitting and comfort. It features a powerful Air Power fresh air system together with customized Air Mesh fabric to reduce exhalation resistance and improve breathing comfort.
Hydroxyl Aura | Manufacturer: Hydroxyl Technologies Limited, Bristol, United Kingdom
Aura is a wearable personal air purifier that provides revolutionary protection to users. Airborne contamination both from pathogens and pollution is a growing concern. Clean, pure air is especially important for people with asthma and respiratory conditions. Aura uses revolutionary patented technology to generate Hydroxyl radicals that create a cloud of clean, sterile air in front of a user's face.
Honeywell 3D Knit Mask | Manufacturer: Honeywell Design Group, Shanghai, China
The Honeywell 3D Knit Mask is convincing proof that maximum hygiene and good design do not have to be mutually exclusive – on the contrary: the 3D knit mask has been designed with a futuristic look to make health masks more acceptable to the general public in everyday life.
KARE : Mobile Clinic Module | Manufacturer: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology - KAIST, Daejeon, South Korea
With this mobile clinic module is is possible to rapidly build an isolation ward by combining air tents, functional panels, and a negative pressure frame. The design addresses the requirements of functionality, cost and efficiency. The unique airflow structure guarantees bio-safety maintaining the pressure differences among hot, warm and cold zone in the ward. With the use of air tents, the whole ward can be shipped by airplane in an emergency.
Pandemic Design System | Manufacturer: Peter Schmidt Group, Hamburg, Germany
How can creative agencies respond to the hygiene rules during the Covid-19 pandemic? This pictogram set is made up of icons and posters that everybody can download for free to make shared spaces a little bit safer. They make use of internationally recognized symbols and colors and can be integrated seamlessly into diverse corporate identities.
Wearable Air Purifier Mask | Manufacturer: LG Electronics, Seoul, South Korea
Existing disposable masks have to be replaced frequently, causing problems of environmental pollution. To solve this problem LG developed a semi-permanent electronic mask that blocks pathogens and pollutants. It comes with a rechargeable sterilization case to ensure that the mask does not become a breeding ground for germs.
Avoir Tankless Toilet | Manufacturer: Kohler Company, Kohler, United States
Thanks to its simple design, the Avoir Tankless Toilet is easy to clean and not having a tank also makes it particularly easy to install. With no need for power from the grid, this battery-powered toilet can be set up virtually anywhere.
TOQUE | Manufacturer: KAIST CIDR Lab., Daejeon, South Korea
TOQUE is an innovative design that enables direct care in an otherwise isolated quarantine unit: thanks to UV sterilization and the latest communication elements, nursing staff can easily and safely interact with COVID-19 patients and even hand over necessary utensils.
LG 360 Air Purifier | Manufacturer: LG Electronics Inc., Seoul, South Korea
The LG 360 Air Purifier is an advanced air purifier that filters pollutants from the air and provides better indoor air quality – not only in times of Corona.

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.

Read more about the YURI induction urinal

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.


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