CannonDesign, creative ideas in the time of COVID-19


New York, USA,

Health & Wellness,


At this moment in time when social distancing is being used to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the team from US architecture studio, CannonDesign are doing what they can to help. Being architects, they’re doing it how they know best, with a reflection on street signs and with a walk-in, COVID-19 testing booth slated for the general public.

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CannonDesign, creative ideas in the time of COVID-19 These are extraordinary times and we can see lots of creatives and architecture studios all over the world doing their bit for the community. One example of this is the CURA project in Italy, bringing together an international team of architects, engineers, doctors, military experts and NGOs to implement an open-source project converting shipping containers into intensive care units. 
Then there is CannonDesign in the United States, already known to our readers. As a graphic designer and architect, Dylan Coonrad, AIGA, the firm’s Creative Director leads its graphic design team and oversees its visual identity and approach to creative marketing. Living in New York, one of the epicentres of COVID-19 in the United States, he often runs along the streets of Brooklyn, normally heaving with life but now virtually deserted. So he turned this experience into a graphic design project to emphasise the importance of social distancing. Instead of his usual people watching, he found himself paying attention to the road signs along his route. Road signs he had seen innumerable times in the past but this time he focused on what they were saying: cross the street, do not enter, no parking, speed bump ahead... He says, “These were the rules of the road just weeks ago. Now they’re less important. Today, society needs constant reminders to socially distance, stay home, protect our elders, and much more. It crossed my mind that these universally recognizable street signs could be totems for the messages we need in these unprecedented times.”
The images we’re sharing here represent Dylan Coonrad’s exploration. How could socially critical communication tools like street signs help us adapt to the new normal? Of course, being conceptual in nature, he’s not suggesting that actual street signs be modified. “Our hope is these images serve as a love letter to the places we live (NYC for me). The people we miss. And all that unites us, even when we have to keep at least six feet apart” explains Dylan Coonrad. 
CannonDesign has also made another contribution in the battle against COVID-19. To address the need for testing in urban areas for people without vehicles, CannonDesign architect Albert Rhee created a walk-in testing booth that is slated for public use and is designed to prevent contagion during testing. Albert Rhee, AIA, LEED AP, is a healthcare architect and husband to a Chicago-based nurse. He is witnessing first-hand the enormous pressure caregivers are experiencing as they work to protect our communities while caring for COVID-19 patients. A walk-in testing booth provides an alternative solution that eliminates physical provider-patient exposure. It is proposed in a modular format that is simple to deploy for temporary testing operations. The design is based on testing operations already in place at Yang Ji General Hospital in Seoul, South Korea, and Albert Rhee worked with Buffalo-based mechanical engineer, Raymond Shultz to develop the design further. Together, they hope that sharing these drawings will help to advance and accelerate the deployment of these modular systems across the globe as a major step towards getting the upper hand against this virus.
Two virtuous examples that showcase how design can also make a difference when our health is at stake.

Christiane Bürklein

Project: CannonDesign
Signs: Dylan Coonrad, AIGA
Test booth: Albert Rhee, AIA, LEED AP
Year: 2020
Images: Dylan Coonrad, CannonDesign


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