Cuban Group Begins Producing Acrylic Screens for Post-Covid Era

The innovative group “Cairostudio” creates protective barriers to reduce the risks of contagion from the novel Coronavirus, as Cuba gets ready for the recovery phase of the pandemic.

By IPS Cuba

According to artist Carlos Torres Cairo, the idea for the screens arose from the needs of the hotels, which are constantly receiving people from other countries. Courtesy photo: Cairostudio

HAVANA TIMES – The acrylic protective screens are the latest proposed project of the creative group at Cairostudio, led by visual artist Carlos Torres Cairo. The screens are designed to reduce the risk of contagion from the novel Coronavirus, by establishing a barrier between the clients and the receptionists in a variety of settings.

It’s evident that structures of this type will be a distinguishing feature of the post-COVID-19 era. This caused Cairostudio to think about panels that are easy to put up and adaptable to the environment. Their catalogue includes different models that can be used.

Although the situation in the Cuban capital, currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic, is still very complicated, Cuba appears to be moving towards the phase of recovery from the public health emergency.  The first case in this insular Caribbean nation was detected on March 11. 

The economy was already very shaky before COVID-19, due to both internal weaknesses and the worsening relations with the United States. It constitutes a grave concern for the population of 11.2 million inhabitants.

While the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean foresees a decrease of 3.7 percent in Cuba’s gross national product in 2020, an independent team from The Economist Intelligence Unit predicted a fall of 8.3 percent for the Cuban economy due to the impact of the pandemic.

Sample of the acrylic protective screens designed by the creative group “Cairostudio”. Courtesy photo: Cairostudio.

Easy to use

The idea for the screens arose from the needs of the hotels, which are constantly receiving guests from other countries, Carlos Torres told IPS.

“This is an area where there’s a fairly elevated risk of contagion,” he analyzed, adding that everything began with the concerns of places where the group had worked on the interior design.

It’s still very soon to speak of the impact of the protective screens, he recognized, because the product has still not been placed in all of the places where it could be used.  “But this accessory could form part of the measures that will begin to be implemented once the lockdown phase ends,” he judged.

“When the current phase ends, there’ll be new regulations that we must incorporate into the public spaces. At that time, accessories like these screens could cause an impact that we suspect we’ll see,” the designer, who is also a photographer, said.

The acrylic protective screens are designed for any space where there’s a reception area. That could be hotels, services such as beauty parlors, private hostels, or any place that requires them, such as hospitals or schools.

With that in mind, Cairostudio has planned different models and prototypes, taking into account the different dimensions of each space, although they also offer custom services.

The acrylic screens are designed for anywhere that includes a reception area. Courtesy photo: Cairostudio.

Other details

Although there’s still no defined date for the recovery phase, many businesses and services are preparing themselves for that moment.

The protective screens are made of transparent acrylic, a material that’s very easy to clean and that doesn’t block the ability to speak and be heard from either side.

The creative group Cairostudio operates with the support of the state-run Cuban Fund for Cultural Goods, and specializes in designing and producing custom interior design orders, as well as offering services such as graphic design, printing, event production and displays.

The protective screens are made of transparent acrylic, a material that’s very easy to clean. Courtesy photo: Cairostudio

The group includes artists, engineers, designers, architects, communications teams and craftspeople such as carpenters, ironworkers, and restoration specialists, since one of their priorities is to preserve these classic occupations.

Their future plans also include offering on-site courses in these specialties. Currently, however, all these activities have been suspended due to the epidemiological situation in the country. However, they plan to resume them as soon as this stage of the pandemic is over.