The following projects are all ones I love because they identify a specific social issue and offer a solution that is innovative and unique.
Emotional First Aid Kit
The Emotional First Aid Kit was created by Rui Sun an MA Industrial Design student from London’s Central Saint Martin’s. The five objects (each with providing the user with a different comfort) make up this kit are intended to provide comfort in times of mental distress.- a way to show that emotional health is as equally important as our physical state.
“In spite of culture, background, wealth – everybody suffers the same emotional ups and downs of life…What if we treated emotional health equally to psychical health? This kit is designed for very different emotional scenarios.” (Sun, R.)
An Empathy Bridge for Autism
Heeju Kim a graduate from Royal College of Art uses six awkwardly shaped lollies alongside, an augmented reality headset and head phones to allow users to experience difficulties that Autistic people feel when trying to communicate.
“Every noise and sound are magnified, distorted and muddled so that it is very hard to make a conversation while using the tool. People with autism are sometimes unable to block out background noise.” (Kim, H.)
After having her own negative experience with mental health services, Sara Lopez Ibanez, MA Industrial Design, CSM created a self-assesment kit that helps users figure out if they require help and where they can find it.
“Years after I discovered many people had had similar experiences and we all shared the same thoughts. That is why I decided to use design to redefine what an empathetic mental health assessment can look like, as done by people who had gone through it.”
10 students from Finland’s Lahti University of Applied Sciences have designed a collection of essential furniture items for those affected by natural disasters and the ongoing refugee crisis.
“The main idea behind Rehome was to design temporary products that could provide an answer to humans’ primary needs when suddenly rehoused.” (Nordgren, I.)
Heat Rescue Disaster Recovery
Hikaru Imamura studied Visual Communication Design at Musashino Art University and created this survival kit for people who have had their houses destroyed through disasters. The kit is made up of a set of emergency items that could potentially reduce the negative effects of refugee life.
“When houses have been destroyed through disaster, we will have to be housed in refugee-camps, possibly for as long as several months, until temporary houses are built. In such harsh condition, people are more likely to become ill, due to the mental stress and exhaustion encountered. Therefore, warming your body, as well as having access to hot meals, can provide mental encouragement.”
Novel Hospital Toys
Hikaru Imamura created a set of wooden toys aim to help children psychological when under booing examinations in hospitals. By improving the children understanding of these machines through toys and a little book it should reduce their anxiety and help hospital staff perform examinations.
“Examinations and operations are a cause of anxiety and fear in the little patients, and these feelings can be relieved by informing them of what to expect during their visit.”
It’s hard to decided whether these projects are ‘successful’ as not all of them have necessarily been tested in real world scenario. Nevertheless, for the sake of this I am going to presume they are all fit for purpose.
When analysing these projects and looking at them as a collective I can clearly identify key componenets that are present in all the projects. To start with they clearly identify a problem and from here they have chosen a target audience. The overall designs are fairly simply, they have not been over designed. They offer a solution that is both creative and functional.
Hitti, Natashah. (10th October 2017). Eight thought-provoking design responses to mental health. Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2017/10/10/eight-of-the-most-thought-provoking-design-responses-to-mental-health-world-mental-health-day/
Imamura, H. (December 2011). Heat Rescue Disaster Recovery. Retrieved from http://www.hikaruimamura.com/HEAT-RESCUE-DISASTER-RECOVERY
Imamura, H. (December 2011). Novel Hospital Toys. Retrieved from http://www.hikaruimamura.com/NOVEL-HOSPITAL-TOYS
Morby, A. (22nd June 2017). Emotional First Aid Kit is designed to help those in stressful situations. Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2017/06/22/emotional-first-aid-kit-designed-help-those-stressful-situations-design-graduates-central-saint-martins/
Morby, A. (18th September 2017). Lahti University students design furniture for victims of displacement. Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2017/09/18/lahti-university-students-design-furniture-for-victims-of-displacement/
Tucker, E. (8th January 2017). Empathy kit uses augmented reality and candy to help users better understand autism. Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2017/01/08/heeju-kim-emapthy-bridge-kit-help-users-understand-autism-augmented-reality-candy/