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A recap of top stories from all over the world as picked by designers

repost from What Design Can Do


As we cast our eyes towards 2021, we hope you enjoy this look back at one of the longest-running series on our blog; a collection of more than 60 articles highlighting the creative world’s most inspiring and innovative design responses for surviving (and thriving) in a pandemic. From schemes for social distancing, to notes on bread baking and tools for decolonising design, here is a tour of our top 10 stories of the year, as picked by our readers and editors.

Design and making in times of Corona

Back in March, as the first wave of COVID-19 knocked us off of our feet, we published an open letter to our creative community. In it, we talked about the challenges ahead, and the importance of responding with purpose, positivity and resilience. We also asked: Can this crisis be a turning point for humanity, with lasting and beneficial effects? Can we bring people together in new ways? 

Make your own mask

In the chaotic weeks that followed, many of us gravitated towards content that was practical and actionable. Maybe it was because we found a sense of agency (and a good measure of distraction) in being creatively productive. Hardly surprising then, that a DIY tutorial became one of our most-shared stories of the year. In response to the shortage of protective equipment around the world, waste textile artist Femke van Gemert compiled this step-by-step video guide to making your own face mask, using leftover materials that can be found around the house. A story which did similarly well is our report on the Funtastic Masks project in Brazil, which produces beautiful and environmentally friendly masks with riverside communities in the Amazon.

Innovative hand-washing station pop up across Africa

Also popular with our readers were stories celebrating ingenious design responses from different parts of the world. As the pandemic made its way through the African continent for example, a spate of local challenges demanded more agile, local solutions. Case in point: in parts of Ghana, Lesotho and Kenya, a wave of creative entrepreneurs had started making and hacking innovative new forms of hand–washing stations — from solar-powered sinks to hands-free taps — to promote hygiene in areas with little access to running water

Architecture response to the pandemic

From temporary ICU’s (Ratti e Rota) to 3D printed visors and an instant virus hotel (altri post del blog): the month of April saw architects and engineers leap into action. In this article, The Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA) teamed up with WDCD to list the initiatives that best show off the adaptability and agility of the architectural trade.

Studio Precht designs a park for social distancing 

Last but not least, here’s a project that got a few tongues wagging. ‘Parc de la Distance’ is a maze-like park for social distancing, designed by Studio Precht in Austria. Here, tall hedges in swirling patterns offer visitors a safe, solitary stroll, and a sense of “being alone in public.” Though the park is a proposal for Vienna, Precht believes the concept could benefit city-dwellers in other parts of the world, even after the pandemic is over. The idea garnered mixed responses from the design crowd, who worried that this was a pretty but ineffective band-aid to what is really a complex urban problem.


What is certain is that speculative designs like these ask interesting questions about the future of our public spaces. As we approach a ‘new normal’ this is still a dilemma facing architects and city planners everywhere: when should we design in favour of social distancing, and when do we choose to foster better social connection? Can we do both?

source: What Design Can Do


Maker Faire Rome – The European Edition has been committed since eight editions to make innovation accessible and usable to all, with the aim of not leaving anyone behind. Its blog is always updated and full of opportunities and inspiration for makers, makers, startups, SMEs and all the curious ones who wish to enrich their knowledge and expand their business, in Italy and abroad.

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