LIVINGSCAPES

Trend research: Enabling House.
Grey Power

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By 2050, 34% of the population will be aged over 60 in Europe alone. Life expectancy is increasing and design will need to cater for an older population that will doubtlessly have reduced or weaker functional capacity – and will therefore be in need of support – but will be no less discerning in terms of aesthetic taste. The over 50s – the so-called baby boomers – are in fact an influential consumer group. They are free of financial and family ties and, therefore, have spending power. They do not feel as though they’re nearing the end of their lives, but are generally fit, independent and full of things they still wish to accomplish.

Moreover, after a life spent respecting the work ethic, bringing up families and sticking to the rules, they are embracing life fiercely and are keen to enter into a new chapter of great experimentation in all consumer segments. Basically, they do not seem like and do not behave like elderly people and do not feel old in relation to the environment in which they live, in which they expect to be supported while preserving the same personalities, the same comforts and the same distinctive features that have characterised their lives.

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Ever is a range of bath-room furnishing accesso-ries designed to pre-empt the needs of people of all ages. Despite their sim-plicity, the objects de-signed by Monica Graffeo, Gianni Arduini and Marco Frigerio contain small and imperceptible performance enhancers that make them appropriate for different uses and suitable for the individual requirements of their users.
Looks and practicality aside, the Ever range contains added value in terms of safety and comfort. A wooden ring and bar hanging from the ceiling might look like decontextualized pieces of gym equipment, but there is nothing casual about their allusion to bodies keen to perform as well as possible. The Gambol accessories serve as unusual towel rails, encouraging people to use them and providing solid support.

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The multifunctional Lissom shelves can become supports when needed, while providing space for bottles, cosmetics, magazines or objects such as spectacles. Rung, a versatile stool, is also suitable for other parts of the house and can be used as a seat, container and support, all at once.

The concept underpinning this collection is that, when designed with care and with the focus on valorising the bodies and capabilities of their potential users, furnishings can have a part to play at different stages of life and the various demands that these involve. 

French designer Géraldine Biard believes that the role of design is to stimulate and help people prosper in the environment that surrounds them. This belief and her own research into and observation of patients suffering from dementia in Switzerland have informed the Jardin d'Hiver accessories collection. 

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The range – which includes two bedside tables, a sideboard and a console table – was designed to create a constructive habitat for people suffering from this particular affliction, who are extremely sensitive to their “surroundings”. The pieces are fitted with an integrated system that harnesses aromatherapy and light therapy to awaken all the users’ senses, alleviating anxiety and many sleep disturbances. 

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All the furniture in the range is made of wood, copper and Corian®, the translu-cence of the latter on the upper part serves to evoke a snow-topped miniature mountain landscape. The relaxing aromas emanate from the mountain peaks and the light is filtered through a graphic landscape applied to the surfaces.

The idea is that people should feel transported into a different realm – such as when they look through a window at a distant landscape – which reassures them, instilling a sense of calm and comfort. The extreme elegance of the lines also chal-lenges and redefines the standards of medical design.