SAFE: Design Takes On Risk

Mathieu Lehanneur
The Third Lung from the Objets Thérapeutiques collection
Model. 2001

Mathieu Lehanneur. The Third Lung from the Objets Thérapeutiques collection. Model. 2001

Various materials, two pieces: 2 3/8 x 3 1/2 x 4 3/8" (6 x 9 x 11 cm) and 3/4 x 3 3/8 x 2 1/2" (2 x 8.5 x 6.5 cm).
Lent by Mathieu Lehanneur. Photo by Véronique Huygues

CURATOR, PAOLA ANTONELLI: This collection of therapeutical objects is the work of Mathieu Lehanneur, a young designer based in Paris, France. He thinks that ever since little pharmacies, little apothecaries, in little villages and in various areas of the city disappeared -- with them, a whole piece of the relationship that people have with medicine has disappeared as well. We have lost the narrator, we have lost the person, the guidance that tells us how often, when and how to take the medicines. Lehanneur tried to recuperate this particular narration in the objects, in the packaging of the medicines themselves.

To give you an example, imagine a child with asthma. There's nothing more difficult than for the child to accept the sickness, and also to remember to take the asthma medicine when needed. Lehanneur designed this beautiful packaging that inflates when it's time for the child to take the medicine, and in fact it's called Third Lung. Therefore, the child is almost compelled to deflate it by transferring the medicine within himself.

These objects are still at a purely conceptual stage, of course. They involve the manufacturing of completely new packaging, and in some cases, they also involve the delivery of medicines in a completely different way. Nonetheless, they are a very strong reminder of the humanity of patients, a humanity that needs to be addressed by pharmaceutical companies, by making medicines more approachable, more understandable in their use, and easier to take.

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