On view Sept. 13 through May 19, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Discovery Center will present Design with the 90%, an exhibition highlighting efforts of designers around the world to develop affordable and sustainable solutions for some of the world’s most marginalized communities.
Design with the 90% was organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and features more than 25 projects that demonstrate how design can be a dynamic force for social change.
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In the most under-resourced parts of the world, it focuses on improving people’s health and empowering communities with opportunities to overcome extreme poverty.
In the United States, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to ensure that all people have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
“The Seattle area is a hub of design innovation and global health, so it is very exciting to partner with the Gates Foundation Discovery Center to present this new version of the exhibition,” said Cynthia E. Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design for Cooper Hewitt. “We wanted to highlight a new generation of architects, engineers, designers, NGOs, and philanthropists who are partnering and working in co-creation with communities with limited resources to meet real needs.”
Several Seattle area designers are featured in the exhibition, such as BURN Design Lab based in Vashon, Washington. They were part of a design team to create BURN Cookstoves, which reduces fuel consumption and smoke production to enable a more affordable and less toxic cooking environment.
Seattle-based TEAGUE collaborated on a design prototype for the rugged Kenyan-designed Kio Kit, which combines 40 kid-friendly tablets and headphones, a wireless charging case with 5TB of storage, and preloaded educational content that can transform remote schools into digital classrooms.
Other projects showcased in the exhibition include the Maya Pedal, human-powered machines made from discarded bicycles. The bikes can be used without electricity to complete time-consuming tasks such as milling grain, shelling corn, washing clothes, or pumping water to supply entire neighborhoods.
Digital platforms and apps that improve lives are also featured in the exhibition, such as HarassMap. After experiencing daily sexual harassment on Egypt’s streets, four women launched an online crowd-mapped anonymous reporting system, HarrassMap. Anyone can share via text message individual incidents, noting the location, date and time, personal and witness accounts, and any interventions, which are aggregated to reveal hotspots.
The exhibition will also highlight local issues where design can play a key role in developing solutions to challenges facing communities in the Seattle area. Visitors can participate in a design thinking challenge, get inspired, and connect to local design community programs, and learn more about how to get involved.
Located next to Seattle Center and the headquarters of the Gates Foundation, the Gates Foundation Discovery Center is a catalyst to educate, inspire, and motivate local and global awareness and action. Through exhibits and programs, the Discovery Center convenes and connects people to relevant topics, stories, and resources to inspire action in our hometown and beyond.
Admission is always free.
Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (6 p.m. in summer), Tuesday – Saturday.