The outbreak of COVID-19 triggered alarming shortages in PPE (personal protective equipment) around the world. Acquiring PPE was especially challenging for underresourced communities.
Mobile Mask Machine distributed masks created by volunteers. Communities and individuals supported each other with food, transportation, education, mask-making, and other necessities of life.
Modiste Mask and Hijab
The garment was designed by model Halima Aden, herself a former health care worker, in collaboration with Modiste, a fashion tech company founded by Emily Shippee.
This cotton face covering and turban is designed for people who wear turbans and hijabs. The mask loops around buttons on the turban or hijab, providing comfort.
Breathe by Timsy Batra
Based in Singapore, Timzy Batra is a fashion designer and creator of soft goods for the home. Batra belongs to the Sikh community, which calls on men to cover their hair with a turban.
Mask restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic prevented members of her family from going outside, since masks cannot be worn when the ears are covered. Batra developed an adjustable cotton mask suitable for wearing over a turban.
She distributes the masks via Etsy and other channels, using her factory in Delhi for manufacturing.
TEAL Reusable Respirator
The shortage of N95 masks during the COVID-19 crisis forced many health care workers to wear masks for long periods instead of swapping them for new, sterile equipment. A reusable design would address the mask shortage as well the staggering issue of medical waste.
Researchers and engineers at MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital collaborated to create a reusable respirator.
TEAL Reusable Respirator
The iMasc respirator is made with silicone rubber, a material that seals comfortably against the face. The transparent material visualizes the lips, easing communication among health care workers and patients.
iSphereCooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
An Open-source, retro-futuristic face shield shaped like a fish bowl to protect wearers against coronavirus
Ýrúrarí knitted maskCooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Ýrúrarí knitted mask
“Textile designer Ýrúrarí, who is nominated for this year's Icelandic Design Award, gives new life to worn-out clothes by adding playful knitted details such as eyes, tongues and fingers." —Dezeen
Oricool Origami MasksCooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Oricool Origami Masks
Jiangmei Wu is an interdisciplinary professor at Indiana University Bloomington. Her creative research in art and design involves mathematics, science, and engineering, with an emphasis on origami, the art and science of paper folding.
Having relatives in China and Hong Kong, Wu became keenly aware of COVID-19 months before the outbreak hit the U.S., and she knew that masks would soon become part of daily life worldwide.
She set out to create an origami mask that improves comfort and effectiveness by fitting different shapes of human face.
Zero Waste Scrub SetCooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Zero Waste Scrub Set
In Spring 2020, Danielle Elsener created a design for zero-waste scrubs. This crucial PPE was in short supply in the UK, especially in small and medium sizes. Elsener made her design free to the public online.
BioVYZRCooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
BioVYZR provides a 360-degree sealed environment around the user as well as positive-pressure air purifying technology.
Design & Healing: Masks and PPE content is from Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum's exhibition Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics (New York, December 10, 2021–August 14, 2022) Curatorial team: Ellen Lupton, Julie Pastor, and MASS Design Group. Story author: Alyssa Perales