Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics


Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics asks the question: What is design’s role in times of crisis? This exhibition presents architectural case studies and historical narratives alongside creative design responses to COVID-19, featuring the work of designers, artists, doctors, engineers, and neighbors who asked, “How can I help?” In response to crisis, they created medical devices, PPE, mutual aid, infographics, posters, and architecture. Their creative actions have included open-source collaboration, rapid-response prototyping, hacking, and activism.

We worked with MASS Design Group and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum to design the exhibition graphics. The design and ideas of the book The Architecture of Health: Hospital Design and the Construction of Dignity were adapted into a physical experience.

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.

Design Direction, Design
Bud Rodecker
Alyssa Arnesen
Design Direction
Rick Valicenti
Exhibition Design
MASS Design Group
Matt Flynn © Smithsonian Institution
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)