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Frame #137

Frame #137 – Will Covid Crush the Classroom?

The November/December issue of Frame explores how the Covid-19-induced absence of the classroom has provided the opportunity to redefine educational space as a physical, digital – and even immaterial – entity.

Reporting From
In the aftermath of the recent devastating explosion in Beirut, Christele Harrouk explains the actual groundwork taking place and questions how the future might look for the city and its inhabitants. Over in São Paulo, Silvia Albertini suggests we all take inspiration from the creatives reacting to Brazilian officials’ hate speech with inclusive – and even loving – actions.

Business of Design
How the pandemic may help rather than hinder co-living. What the ‘decade of the home’ means for residential design.       Why the turn towards fulfilment is overwhelming retail space. How telemedicine will transform both home and hospital. And: Why office furniture may soon cost a lot more.

In Practice
Spanish designer and artist Lucas Muñoz explains what it means to design by demolition, how to apply ex-situ wisdom to in-situ resources, and why sustainability should not be measured, but thoroughly understood. Part of Ikea’s internal design team, New Delhi-based Akanksha Deo Sharma shares how the Covid-19 crisis has impacted her philosophy as a democratic designer, what she’s learned from working on community-building projects, and her advice for fellow young designers looking to make an impact. From her home base in Princeton, Venezuelan-born American architect and educator Mónica Ponce De León explains how balancing theory and practice can yield richer results, why she’s fighting the stereotype that community projects should have a certain look, and how digital technologies can help to democratize design. Plus, Uniqlo’s Takahiro Kinoshita explains why stores don’t need to be just for shopping, how to build social media into a physical retail space, and why sometimes you should hold on to history.

Spaces
Semiotics agency Axis Mundi looks at how exposed infrastructure in retail spaces is a resourceful response in unstable times. What’s more, we explore Burberry’s precedent-setting phygital retail, spaces that make insects more palatable, Tokyo’s bid to revitalize public restrooms, and how the rise in cycling is affecting spatial design.

Education Lab
The classical economics term ‘creative destruction’ has come back in vogue in 2020, attempting to find small slivers of silver linings in the giant storm cloud that is the global pandemic. From this perspective, 2020 may not be an unmitigated disaster for our educational institutions, but rather a short-term shock that could produce long-term gains. The unprecedented disruptions schools around the globe have faced during this time may actually catalyse underlying trends that were bubbling away in the background, meaning that we’ll reach a more equitable, innovative and productive future model sooner than we would have without it.

The Challenge: Post-Pandemic Schooling
In the lead-up to each issue, we challenge emerging designers to respond to the Frame Lab theme with a forward-looking concept. While most governments are keen for educational facilities to reopen – both to aid parents’ return to work and to avoid a generation of learners falling behind – others are more cautious. But whether we will enter the age of at-home learning or revive the physical classroom, schooling will need to adapt to ‘the new normal’, meeting both social and safety needs. How? We asked three creative practices to share their ideas.