A year or two ago I saw the exhibit "Design for the other 90%"
at the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum
, in New York. It was an excellent exhibit that I highly recommend to the artist/designer interested in working with world cultures to solve issues related to poverty. I see the exhibit is currently at the National Geographic Society Museum in Washington, D.C. It focuses on design related to Shelter, Health, Water, Education, Energy, and Transport.
As stated on the website:
Of the world’s total population of 6.5 billion, 5.8 billion people, or 90%, have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted; in fact, nearly half do not have regular access to food, clean water, or shelter. Design for the Other 90% explores a growing movement among designers to design low-cost solutions for this “other 90%.” Through partnerships both local and global, individuals and organizations are finding unique ways to address the basic challenges of survival and progress faced by the world’s poor and marginalized.
I have several favorite designs on the site. I am particularly fond of the Q Drum
(pictured above), the Katrina furniture project,
and the OneLaptop
per child project. The Q drum was designed so that people in rural areas (with an emphasis on Africa) could carry a larger volume of water over a greater distance. The design is ingenious, but I was disappointed to see video stating that the people who need it the most cannot afford it. The Katrina project makes furniture from the debris left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It utilizes a second harvest in an attempt to make a small positive out of devastation. The OneLaptop per child project is self explanatory. Its vision is to provide children in poverty stricken areas with low cost, low energy laptops (can you get CreateCulture.org on those?).
Is anyone else out there using their design/art skills in a similar noble manner?