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LADO Arquitetura is the Coronavirus Design Competition People's Choice Winner.

Leonardo Fernandes Dias from LADO Arquitetura shares the inspiration and process behind his award winning design.

Tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Leonardo Fernandes Dias, I'm a Brazilian architect who is passionate about architecture and entrepreneurship. My firm LADO Arquitetura (www.lado.arq.br) and my architectural platform BASE Colab (www.base-colab.com) are an example of it, both focus on making a better world through architecture and entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to enter the coronavirus design competition?

In the beginning of the pandemic situation, where everybody was terrified and running to drug stores to buy hand sanitizers, prices were going crazy and I saw clearly that just a few people would have financial condition to buy it. It was a real problem that could be solved with access to water and soap, however, we don't have it in public spaces or even in poor communities where water is scarce. At the same time I saw the competition and I decided to create a design proposal.

My first idea was to create an equipment that would allow people to wash their hands in public spaces. However, as this pandemic situation was getting worse with huge numbers of victims every day and people not knowing how to use masks, not doing social distance or lots of fake news going on, I saw that this equipment had to be more than that. That's why I added four panels to the equipment so information about the virus and manners to stay safe could be displayed to everyone. At the same time this panel would be showing photos or something related to victims of covid19, creating a memorial that would honor those who have lost their lives and also people would see that all those daily numbers of victims were real, with parents and friends.

What role do you think design has in today's world?

Architects always had an important role in society, but I think nowadays and in the future we are going to be more requested than ever because right now everyone is noticing that spaces have a huge impact on our lives and this is happening on two scales. The first one is the small scale like our homes and the second is the scale of the city, our urban life. Right now people are noticing that it is important to have a good and comfortable space in their homes, both to work and relax. Also, being deprived of parks due to quarantine, we see that contact with nature is vital for quality life. Cities will have to be rethought to avoid another pandemic situation and architects and urban planners will have to rethink cities in the face of new possibilities like a home office and biophilic designs.

Any closing thoughts? Anything you'd like the world to know?

Since I have shared my proposal on the internet lots of people have been contacting me to see the possibility of bringing it to life. There are huge chances to see them on the streets, standing to help us stay safe and well informed. The equipment is not only for fighting coronavirus, above all it is to help us create a new habit of washing our hands in public space, get informed and I think it has the potential to be part of a new normal in every city of the world.

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