Lahlou believes it is imperative to integrate design into the new vision of Morocco.
Rabat – Morocco’s Hicham Lahlou has lent his talents to the national COVID-19 response by designing the exterior and branding of a 100% Moroccan-made respirator.
The renowned Moroccan designer joined the project at the end of March as the COVID-19 crisis in Morocco reached its peak. A press release from the designer said he “accepted with joy and solidarity, to support at his humble level the national momentum, the fight, and the efforts against the pandemic.”
He styled the Moroccan-made respirator’s exterior design and branding after consulting for several weeks with his team and a collective of researchers, engineers, industrialists, and doctors, with the support of the Ministry of Industry.
The collective comprises more than 20 companies from the engineering, aeronautics, automotive, and electronics sectors. All participants in the production of the 100% Moroccan-made respirators contribute their talents for no profit, illuminating their commitment to the national effort to fight COVID 19.
The collective includes SERMP, a research and mechanical precision engineering company in Morocco; Mohammed VI Polytechnic University; the Grouping of Moroccan Aeronautical and Space Industries (GIMAS); the National Institute of Posts and Telecommunications (INPT); and Aviarail-PILLIOTY-SERMP.
Lahlou styled the outer shell, the brand identity, and various other details of the project. His role in the respirator’s development shows that “design has its place perfectly in the economic and industrial ecosystem” of Morocco.
“With a view to integrating design into the creative and industrial process … Morocco has positioned itself as a real model in Africa, in particular with the development of a standard respirator whose engineering and design have been studied in depth to meet the needs of the [pandemic],” said the press release.
Lahlou believes “it is imperative to integrate [design] into the process of the new vision of Morocco” as it provides an “added value highlighting our local skills” in national and international markets.
The Moroccan designer is a leader in the field of African and Arab design. Lahlou is one of the world’s top designers for prestigious brands and hotels, leads major international projects and collections, and has his creations featured in museums throughout Europe and the US.
He is an elected member of the Board of Directors of the World Design Organization (WDO), making him the first designer from Morocco, the MENA region, West Africa, and Francophone Africa elected to the board in the organization’s history.
Moroccan innovation in the COVID-19 era
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the depth of Moroccan innovation with engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and inventors introducing made-in-Morocco medical equipment and other goods to aid in national efforts against the pandemic.
In April, a group of Moroccan researchers and engineers invented two devices — an automatic ventilator and an infrared thermometer — to assist the country’s COVID-19 response.
The same month, SERMP manufactured hundreds of Moroccan-made ventilators to benefit COVID-19 patients in hard-hit Casablanca.
On May 8, the Foundation for Development Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering (FRSDISI) introduced a 100% Moroccan artificially-intelligent respirator with the aim of making it available at health centers throughout the country to treat patients suffering from respiratory problems.
June saw the introduction of the first Moroccan-designed COVID-19 diagnostic kit by the Moroccan Foundation for Advanced Science, Innovation, and Research (MAScIR), a research and development institution based in Rabat.
Ali Seddiki, a managing director at Morocco’s Ministry of Industry, said in April that the ministry’s mission during the COVID-19 crisis is to coordinate the efforts of all stakeholders in order to come up with innovative solutions to urgent challenges.
The national efforts have enabled the country to boost its COVID-19 testing capacity and recovery rate, preserve the health of its citizens and residents, and forge ahead with deconfinement.