As Cliff Kuang said in Fast Company, “Disability is an engine of innovation”. Yet too often, it produces clinical, functional products. Somehow style gets lost in the design for people with disabilities. And yet, just because we lose our mobility, or hearing, or sight, it doesn’t mean we also lose our style or our desire for an exciting social life. It’s important to have wheelchairs and hearing aids that work, but the next step could be; ones that we actually covet! Design for people with disabilities currently provides for our basic needs, but it needs to respond to our desire for a good night out!
We’re seeing this happening more often at restaurants, bars and other venues. The disabled loo at the German Gymnasium is stunning and matches the décor throughout the restaurant. The community behind the redevelopment of the Pavilion at Brook Green also made a huge effort to include a stylish disabled loo in its public pavilion.
Once you get to an event though, you want to be able to circulate and network. As a wheelchair user, I sometimes struggle to get round a party without a carer to wheel me, or hold my drink. So we’ve developed a stylish glass holder which clamps to your wheelchair, stick or even a table. This way, I can be effortlessly independent. Design shouldn’t just be functional. It should be stylish too.
Author: Fiona Jarvis, Founder of Blue Badge Style