Designing for our future selves

Designing for our future selves

Designing for our future selves

The Design Museum and the Design Age Institute present a free exhibition of 10 innovations for healthier and happier aging.

Despite results from the 2021 Census showing that 18.6% of the UK population were aged 65 and over, “the needs of the older audience are often overlooked by businesses and designers alike,” says Josephine Chanter, Director of Audiences at the Design Museum. , ahead of the opening of a new exhibition exploring design to enhance adult life.

Opening at the museum on February 24, Designing for our Future Selves will include 10 new projects targeting areas such as housing, health and work that are currently under development by the Design Age Institute and its partners.

Contextualized by issues faced by present and future generations as they age – with better health, financial security and technological know-how against job losses due to automation, climate emergency, rising cost of living and a growing risk of global pandemics – the projects look not only to provide solutions for “our future selves” but to “radically reimagine” phases of life such as education, employment and retirement, according to the museum.

redesigning the walker

Hamlyn Walker, credit Michael Strantz

A commission for The Hamlyn Walker Challenge aims to remove the stigma of the walker or walker, described by Lady Helen Hamlyn, Patron of the Helen Hamlyn Center for Design at the Royal College of Art as “the most degrading object we can give anybody”.

Product designer Michael Strantz proposed a single frame on wheels for a walker and scooter-related designs intended to meet the needs of different generations. Strantz is now working with PriestmanGoode and user groups to explore other possibilities within the concept.

inclusive bank

Happy Bank, credit Jess Nash

Design Age Institute Resident Designer Roseanne Wakely worked with the UK’s National Innovation Center for Aging and its citizen research network Voice, banking professionals and users to reimagine banking for later life. A shift to a cashless society and the closure of high street branches that offered traditional banking services mean that new solutions are needed to provide greater confidence and security and meet the unique financial needs of those aging.

tidal massager

Tides, credit Eeva Rinne

Tides is a full body massager used to increase blood flow and keep tissues healthy, with additional benefits including relaxation, improved sleep and pleasure. Designed for menopausal people, Cellule Studio’s Salome Bazin and Giula Tomasello created the product as a therapeutic tool to tone pelvic floor muscles as the body ages. Unlike related products, Tides is non-penetrating and non-genital focused while making use of vibration technologies.

IntellAge Insoles

IntellAge Insoles

Created by Walk with Path founder Lise Pape after her father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the IntellAge is an intelligent insole system that tracks mobility and gait with sensors. By feeding real-time information and prompting an app, the product hopes to give users an understanding of their gait and mitigate the risk of falls.

Other projects include a desirable and functional booster chair that allows people to move easily from a sitting to a standing position; a natural insulating home cladding designed for reduced tolerance to cold temperatures; a living/workspace to support older people in the workforce; a portable, affordable and discreet incontinence device; light installations to improve circadian rhythms, affecting mood, sleep, hormone release and temperature regulation; and the petition for inclusive packaging standards announced in November 2022.

lift chair

The exhibitions will also share the design development and co-creation process with users through audio and video content, prototypes, materials, sketches and consultation and user experience feedback, as well as Chocolate Films films, taking a closer look. the stories and experiences of older communities.

Design Age Institute director Colum Lowe says, “Designing for our future selves allows us to explore how design innovation can improve our lives as we age. The exhibition will open up that dialogue to younger audiences, who may not have questioned what it means to age in today’s society, the potential challenges that lie ahead and how we seek to address them.”

Designing for our Future Selves will be at the Design Museum, 224-238 Kensington High St, London W8 6AG, from 24 February to 26 March 2023. Banner image is by Hamlyn Walker, credit Michael Strantz.

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