Research and development of a furniture range for those with limited mobility

26. 8. 2019
Posted in TechoCon
26. 8. 2019 Radek Váňa

Reduced mobility covers a whole range of movement restrictions. It can refer to problems with sitting down and standing up, or more extensive complications where a person spends most of their time on a bed or in a wheelchair. The day-to-day life of persons with reduced mobility is eased by various aids, and also furniture. This should be designed to aid and make movement and seating more comfortable.

When developing furniture it is necessary, above all, to take account of the stability of any model so a customer can lean against it from all sides. As people get older they often start to suffer from arthrosis or other joint problems, which often affect the hip and knee joints. This frequently makes sitting down and getting up an uncomfortable experience. Furniture must also be comfortable and, where applicable, include high-quality upholstery so as not to cause pressure sores. The furniture surface must also be easy to maintain, and in some cases washable and easy to disinfect, including upholstery. Another factor is the design itself of the furnishings. The interior that we inhabit to a large degree influences the way we feel. It is therefore important for the appearance not to feel sterile, but rather to give a homely impression, and in no way be stigmatising.

The area of care for persons with restricted mobility has been investigated by designer René Šulc for over a year. Together with employees at care homes he studied the problems that arise on a daily basis. He was thus in a position to create designs suitable not just for the patients themselves, but also to make life easier for staff. The inherently stable furniture can be accompanied by a range of details taking into account the given environment. For example, ease of sitting down and standing up is ensured by extended armrests on chairs that are easy to grasp. There are often significant height differences between clients and therefore it is good if the furniture can be adjusted, particularly in the areas of the legs and head. It is also important to be able to lock castors so that the user can be sure that a chair will be stable when getting up from it.

The combined study and development enabled the designer to utilise special ergonomic elements in the range Santiago 02 for TON. All models in the collection are characterised by a stable and durable construction. The bent beech wood also eliminates the sterile and austere feeling that such environments often suffer from. Some models, thanks to their ergonomic qualities and comfort, are also suitable for company canteens and kitchenettes.

Chairs are produced with two upholstery firmness options. Soft upholstery provides comfort in social rooms, and in canteens where the emphasis is on short seating periods the upholstery can be harder. Safe movement around the chairs is ensured by the armrests, which also form a handle on the backrest against which a person can lean without the chair losing stability.

The backrests of the relaxation chairs are made from PUR foam and have the shape of a curved leaf, which evokes a feeling of security and being “hugged” by the chair. The comfort of those seated is further enhanced by variable cushions in several sizes, which stay in place thanks to the chair construction. This can also be combined with an adjustable base to provide even more comfort.

The seat of the relaxation chairs comprises a combination of foams of different firmness to guarantee high comfort and stability when sitting. The height of the headrest is adjustable and can be extended downwards to provide support for even relatively short people. With this model too, the ergonomically shaped armrests also provide security when getting up out of the chair.
The collection includes a screen, which visually complements the seating models and enables the creation of an intimate and pleasant homely environment.

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