social responsibility continues to be one of the most relevant topics of 2021. as the world is still trying to overcome the global COVID-19 crisis, the european refugee crisis is worsening, and the climate on our planet is becoming more extreme day by day, both architects and designers have found ways to help people and generate social impact through their practices. this year we have received thousands of projects that help tackle issues such as plastic pollution and water scarcity, as well as buildings designed to provide for those in need.
we take great pride in the open dialogue we have established with creatives all around the globe, and we are happy to present the high level of original projects of our readership. from a foldable wheelchair that fits cabin baggage, to an indonesian residence made of recycled plastic and bamboo, we highlight our TOP 10 reader submissions of 2021 – social impact.
image courtesy of olivier de gruijter
according to a report by UNICEF and the world health organization, 1 in 3 people globally still do not have access to safe drinking water. to help tackle this issue and the diarrhoeal deaths attributed to unsafe water, olivier de gruijter of studio forthemany and business developer eise van maanen created JERRY, a self-cleaning water filter made specifically to fit onto jerry cans. the small, low-cost device hopes to provide safe drinking water to those who need it most.
image © mohammad hassan forouzanfar
you have probably heard the bad news about developments in afghanistan during 2021. the taliban terrorist group occupies most of the country’s provinces and is ready to rule. afghanistan, once part of iran, has fallen prey to terrorist groups again. today, not only the people, but all the capital and the cultural, historical, and ancient heritage of this country are in danger.
in response to this tragic news, mohammad hassan forouzanfar, an iran-born architect, graphic designer, and visual artist introduces a series of photographies; collecting some historical monuments of afghanistan and its ancient sites — which are also on the UNESCO world heritage list — and raising the flag of the people’s resistance force against the taliban, wishing freedom to all humans in afghanistan and precious heritage of this country.
image courtesy of tobias trübenabacher
in a bid to reduce the ecological footprint of street lighting, product design student tobias trübenabacher has developed ‘PAPILIO’, a wind-powered street lamp that switches on only when it’s needed. created for his graduation project at the university of the arts in berlin, PAPILIO hopes to tackle light pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
image from ‘consumed’ (2016) by richard john seymour
richard john seymour premiers his directorial debut with ‘consumed’, a short film that follows the laborious processes behind everyday products. the cinematic journey takes viewers to china, where a worker narrates his story to the rhythm of industrial machinery. from coal mines and polluted waters in inner mongolia, to container ships at qingdao port, the director gives a sober look at the impact of contemporary consumer society.
image courtesy of revolve air
a wheelchair that revolutionizes travel for its users. that’s what andrea mocellin envisions with the ‘revolve air’ foldable wheelchair. combining a safe and sturdy design with collapsable wheels, the product can fold down to fit the standard cabin baggage dimensions used universally by airlines. this means wheelchair users would no longer have to check-in their own wheelchair and rely on airport assistance along their journey, giving back the freedom that many of us take for granted.