LONDON – Faced with a rapidly ageing population, our society has become increasingly obsessed with our own mortality. The New Old exhibition at the Design Museum is yet another answer to these fears of ageing and dying: as part of the exhibition, Future Facility explores how the elderly can lead fuller, healthier and more rewarding lives through design that prioritizes accessibility.
Amazin Apartment, the installation conceptualized by the studio, addresses the difficulties faced by the elderly in performing basic household maintenance. Envisioning a future where residential aspects are integrated rather than provided by separate utilities companies and appliance manufacturers, Amazin Apartment simplifies all domestic operations through a streamlined serviced apartment plan.
This is demonstrated by three wall segments with an apartment side – installed with a washer/dryer, refrigerator, and water fountain – and a service side behind it. The washer/dryer has a single button and is positioned at standing height; large boxes of powder detergent are installed on the service side. The refrigerator has doors on either side of the wall, one for delivering produce and the other for consuming it. Similarly, the water fountain dispenses water from bottles stored on the service side.
Amazin Apartment can therefore be serviced from behind the walls by unseen staff or robots without disturbing the residents.
Similar to taping-down the superfluous buttons on a grandparent’s TV remote, this reduction of domestic appliances to their most essential interfaces and services removes anxiety about their operation and maintenance, as well as preserves the independence of the elderly.
Amazin Apartment is part of the New Old exhibition in the Helene and Johannes Huth Gallery of the Design Museum in London from 12 January to 19 February 2017.
Location 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG, UK
For more on how design can improve the lives of the elderly, check out the Challenge in Frame #115 (available 1 March 2017).