(New York, NY, September 24, 2012) MASS Design Lab, a global innovation laboratory that unites design and public health, launched this week at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting.
Piloted out of two distinct locales—Rwanda and the U.S.—MASS, in partnership with Shaw Contract Group, will improve health outcomes by fusing design and public health in a unique research and innovation incubator. This initiative aims to stymie some of the greatest health crises of our time and lend a new perspective on how our cities and communities can make us healthier.
In 2010, a single earthquake in Haiti killed over a quarter million people due to a combination of infrastructure failure and resulting outbreaks of disease. Two years later, Haiti’s infrastructure is being rebuilt largely as before. Port-au-Prince remains vulnerable to disaster and cholera, a disease of a failed built environment—specifically a failed sanitary system—has emerged in its wake. The United States, in the meantime, is not much different. In the last decade, we have seen bridges crumble, levees break, and medical facilities incubate diseases that kill over 100,000 people a year and harm many more. Uniting design and public health is needed more urgently than ever.
MASS believes looking to the “Global South” gives us reason for hope. These post-colonial states, in what is largely the southern hemisphere, are producing innovative solutions to the crises and challenges of our health and environment. In the Global South, we have examples of resilient societies that have for decades designed and tested solutions, survived great hardship, and built resilient environments that, if engaged, will teach the world how to design a better future.
The MASS Design Lab will pair these contexts with the lessons of the “Global North” through a powerful new kind of laboratory that will improve our environments and improve our public’s health.
Shaw Contract Group, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, is partnering with MASS Design Lab to support this immersive research lab and share findings directly with those that are developing solutions for healthcare interior environments every day. “As a leader in healthcare markets, developing solutions related to the intersection of design and health is a core part of our business,” said John Stephens, vice president of marketing, Shaw Contract Group. “We see this initiative as a means to invest resources in an organization that is using design to make a global impact on the health and well-being of people. We believe in the power of this initiative to offer a new perspective on the approach to healthcare design, and ultimately impact the way we design product and design solutions for healthcare.”
Through this CGI Commitment, MASS, in partnership with Shaw Contract Group, is launching a global and collaborative problem-solving initiative created to incubate and bring to market solutions to the large- scale crises of our built environment. The MASS Design Lab will most importantly, however, empower: educating global citizens and building new enterprises that together demand and design healthier and more resilient environments.
About MASS Design Group
MASS Design Group is a 501(c)(3) pending, not-for-profit firm that designs, builds, and advocates for buildings that improve health and strengthen communities. MASS’s inaugural project, the 140-bed Butaro Hospital in rural Rwanda, opened in July of 2011 and has since won Acute Medical Care Facility of the Year by Contract Magazine, Archinect’s Top 10 Projects of the Year for the Public Good, and was a finalist for Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival,as well as for London’s Design Museum Design of the Year. MASS recently accepted Zumtobel Award and Contract Magazine’s Designer of the Year Award for 2012. For more information on MASS, please visit http://www.massdesigngroup.org/.
About Shaw Contract Group
Shaw Contract Group defines design not only by great appearance, but also performance and sustainability. The result is long-lasting carpet with vibrant colors, distinctive patterns, and minimal environmental impact. As a division of Shaw Industries, Shaw Contract Group combines the expertise of the world’s largest carpet manufacturer with the financial stability of a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary. For more information, visit shawcontractgroup.com.