Design of Personal Protective Equipment a History

Marco Canevacci (Italian, b. 1970) and Yena Young (Korean, b. 1982), Plastique Fantastique (Berlin, Germany, founded 1999);

Using masks and protective clothing to combat disease is an ancient practice. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). In the spring of 2020, PPE was especially scarce in nursing homes, prisons, and facilities for people with disabilities across the United States. Individuals banded together to make face coverings for neighbours and medical personnel. Engineers, artists, doctors, and designers worked to improve the comfort, cost, effectiveness, and sustainability of personal protective equipment (PPE). Their forward-thinking ideas are influencing the future of masks and other protective gear.

Content from the exhibition Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics, curated by MASS Design Group and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

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