To provide an authentic sense of wellbeing, a good quality design must deliver a delicate balance of form and function. From high fashion and interiors through to everyday practical items, there are trends that make little changes while others define an era and break new ground in innovation. Mobility product design is certainly not exempt from this march of change.
A focus on product design is part of the DNA within Stiltz Homelifts. We are not strangers to innovation and emerging trends – in fact, we have created a whole new category. Did you know that before Stiltz there was no such thing as a home lift? Domestic lifts and through-floor lifts certainly, but not home lifts. Here we share with you some of our thoughts and those of professionals which have caught our beady ‘form and function’ eye.
As the baby boomer generation moves into the 3rd age, their inherent sense of design and style bore out of the rock ‘n’ roll era and post-war consumerism remains undiluted. However determined today’s elders are though, ill health and mobility issues often necessitate intervention within the home to make surroundings safer. Any alterations designed to help with accessibility however such as the installation of a domestic lift, are often scrutinised for suitability; expectations are that design remains as important a functionality.
Jackie Cleveland, the creator of Podplan, the online resource that helps decision making for adult children of older parents, explains, “If health is already a problem, then function is paramount but don’t just choose the first available product. Do consider the overall design appeal of what you are choosing. An unattractive or poorly-designed product quickly impacts negatively on the user; they feel their home is not their own any longer and are filled with institutional-style aids. This is even more noticeable in the case of users who are future-proofing and where a health need hasn’t yet arisen. If the design doesn’t ‘meet the brief’ it simply won’t be accepted”.
Without a doubt, the big takeaway for future access trends is to create a calm sense of harmony balanced with practicality; continuing to embrace style alongside smart use of technology.
Moving on up
How we transition through the overall space in our homes and specifically between rooms is currently a big trend. As a manufacturer and installer of home lifts, Stiltz are naturally at the forefront of this development. We take that notion of simplicity and make it possible through floors. Our home lifts and domestic lifts provide a contemporary solution to getting up and down the stairs and because we understand our customers don’t want to compromise their interior décor; Stiltz Homelifts are beautifully styled.
Gilly Craft, founder of Koubou Interiors Ltd, is a firm believer that good looking domestic lifts are the future norm as she adds, “It is a well-known fact that there will be challenges going forward in our homes due to the fact that we are living longer, and adaptations should be considered well before accessibility concerns become an issue. There are many products on the market now that take this ‘future proofing’ into consideration. Downsizing to a bungalow was the prescribed solution only a few years ago, but with the lack of existing stock availability and very few new bungalows being built, it’s important to look carefully at other means of staying in our own homes for longer, if not forever.”
“A Stiltz domestic lift means single-storey living doesn’t need to be the only option as we age. Compact, elegantly designed; they are easy to use and easy to fit in almost any home.”
Relax and re-charge
As we emerge from a couple of difficult years the idea of rest, calm and relaxation is high on consumers’ lists of priorities. The bathroom is just such a space and trends in products and design are reflective of the desire for wellness and ease. Flooring which enables safe, easy transition into a bath or shower is a major trend that translates well into designing for mobility needs. Smooth, non-slip surfaces offer a safe yet chic environment for bathing. And while wet rooms are still popular, bathing is back in style.
One such company looking to make a statement in assisted bathing is Access; a UK company embracing both style and technology, carving out something of a revolution in walk-in baths. Sleek lines teamed with curves come as standard on all sizes and the walk-in facility is cleverly integrated into the bath.
Picking up on toilet design trends are also key to easier living as Gilly says, “In the bathroom, washlet toilets which combine the toilet with a bidet are a very good idea. Toto invented this toilet/bidet in the 1980s and are considered the best, but other sanitary ware companies are also now providing this type of hybrid product .”
In the same way that electric cars are rapidly taking up the baton from the internal combustion engine, the inside of the home is becoming more of a level playing field for mobility.
In addition to physical aids that help with – for instance – using the stairs or bathing; home automation technology is really making a difference to those who are less mobile. Smart speakers, for example, are for so much more than music. The number of household appliances using these for voice control is steadily increasing. Cleaning your floor, turning on the TV and drawing the curtains are just a few remotely-enabled activities. With voice command assistance set to become standard across millions of homes in the coming years, the future is looking exciting.