In times of crisis look for helpers is how the saying goes. But how are designers making a difference in the current crisis?
We are currently living through times of unprecedented change and disruption to our daily lives. Stay home is the message to live by right now. Whilst many see this as a chore I feel we should take a moment to consider what a privilege it is to have to simply stay at home whilst frontline workers care for the sick and keep our daily lives as normal as possible under lockdown.
Designers Making a Difference
So how exactly are designers making a difference right now? Well, there’s the bigger picture in that design is all about solving problems so we see some of the UK’s most innovative designers and engineering firms such as Dyson and The Ventilator Challenge UK Consortium coming together to make urgently needed ventilators.
Meanwhile, on a smaller scale, there are designers making a difference by using their skills and materials at their disposal to help however they can. Charity begins at home so they say so I’m starting by highlighting some of the projects I’ve been able to connect within my local area and through the Decorcafe network which I host in Brighton.
Decorcafe Members Doing Good
Designer and Decorcafe member Anna Hayman has produced this beautiful signed print to order. The profits from each print go to The Lewes Food Co-operative. A collective of local food businesses who are providing free meals to NHS workers at a local hospital. At the time this blog was written within just a week of launch this project has raised over £2,000.
I’ve ordered one and I feel in the future when it’s on my wall at home it will remind me of the good people who helped us get through these strange times. Order your print at annahaymandesigns.com
I’ve also donated to a collection for NHS Charities by Decorcafe member Emer Gillespie from Spark and Bell.
Every person who donates will be entered into a raffle to win a very generous £500 voucher to spend on beautiful lights at Spark and Bell. The raffle is open until Sunday 3rd May and you can enter here
Caron McQueen from McQueen Bespoke is another member of our Brighton Decorcafe hub using her skills to help the cause. She’s been busy sewing these beautiful scrubs from patterns available from a local neighbourhood watch scheme.
Meanwhile in London Decorcafe member Mel Porter has listed these beautiful rainbow fairy lights on her website. The profits will go to South London Scrubbers – a charity organization financing and sewing scrubs for the NHS.
The Instagram Community is Helping
Next, I’m looking to my Instagram community which I have to say has been an inspiring place to be lately.
Poodle and Blonde is an Instagram account I love to follow because 1. They have beautiful fabrics and wallpapers and 2. Dogs are a major part of their marketing strategy. If you’re wondering why I like the dogs take a look at my Sunday Instagram posts on Dogs and Interiors!
Poodle and Blonde offered sample packs of fabric offcuts in exchange for donations to help NHS charities. The fabrics were hugely popular and sold out very quickly.
Luks Linen sells beautiful hand-loomed Turkish cotton towels and blankets. Ethically made and hand-loomed by master weavers in family ateliers. Every Wednesday they’re sending a free blanket to an NHS worker. You can nominate someone you know to win a blanket by tagging the #blankethugs post on @lukslinen on instagram from Saturdays.
One of the things I love about Instagram is it connects you with like-minded folk across the world. Based in California, Nathan Anthony is an account I follow which makes beautiful bespoke furniture for interior designers. They were able to transform their facility to temporarily make PPE masks to supply to local health care workers.
View this post on Instagram
Last week they donated 150 masks to the LA Food Bank. However, when friends, family, and Instagram followers asked to buy the masks they also put them on sale and now donate a share of the profits to the Global Giving Corona Virus Charity.
Back in the UK Homesense, one of our favorite places to find discount designer homewares closes its doors temporarily. But did you know that on closing all products from the food departments from each store were taken to local food banks in the community? The brand also donated vouchers for the Red Cross to buy clothing and essential items for those in isolation who are in need.
What Can You Do to Help?
Well, I’m delighted to tell you that I have offered to help with the Design Havens for Heroes project. Quickly mobilized via Instagram by interior designer Francesca Rowan-Plowden the project will offer free room makeovers to our NHS Heroes. So far she has pulled together dozens of interior designers to help. As well as this home decor brands and design bloggers across the UK have also pitched in to help. All committed to making over a room for an NHS hero in their region.
I’ll be writing more about this soon but in the meantime head over to the Instagram account @designhavensforheroes to nominate someone you know who deserves a haven for a home. If you are a home decor brand or tradesman that would like to donate products, skills or time to the cause – especially here in Sussex where I’m based – please contact me so I can put you in touch with designers making a difference through this wonderful project.