design for the physically handicapped.

what great features can we add to our existing furniture to make it more viable for the physically challenged people, such that the funiture still retains a regular charm and not become something outlandish.

Define the HANDICAP.

Is it for Physically handicapped/ mentally handicapped…blind.Extent of handicap.

Elaborate…and always start by giving your views.


i have happened to mention physically handicapped, if you read a little intendly my dear friend,…
and as of now, iam not very sure what iam looking at for ideas, so am silent.

the guest is me, kindly excuse the flaw in not mentioning my name previously.

how handicapped and in what ways?
Is it a rheumatoid grandma? Conjoined twins? A person born with acheiropody (no feet, no hands, walk on their knees)?
I think you need to specify: I want to design a piece of furniture for a person with paralyzed legs that has both of his arms, because it would be a very different piece of furniture if that paralyzed person had no arms at all….I’m exaggerating, of course, but you need to pick who you design for: amputees, arthritics, dwarfs…People are physically handicapped in so many different ways, that it is impossible to design a chair that could accommodate to all of the various body deformities.

just tried to open a discussion for mutul interaction and knowledge inter change. lets assume we are talking about rhematoid grandma,
what do you have now???

I was using yesterday for some research and stumbled on a couple of catalogs that cater to disabilities and thought they would be great resources for designers in search of a project:


Enable Mart:

Flaghouse Special Populations:

American Printing House for the Blind:

etc, etc…

I was a participant in the train wreck of a contest that IDSA and the Library of Congress sponsored in 2002 to Design a new Talking Book machine for the blind. It was interesting to work so far outside of your own sphere of experience. In that scenario you really have to dig deep into how someone has to alter their life in order to overcome their disability.

On one occassion we were actually able to meet with a group of primarily elderly and partially sighted people that were living in a home for the blind and visually disabled. It was amazing to hear how despite their disability they still wanted to above all things, be MOBILE! The old Talking Book was a sad spinoff of the late 70’s/early 80’s “Speak and Spell” toys, and it really limited where and how it could be used. I had one particular man that was 83 tell me that he walks 3-5 miles a day (maybe an exageration!?) and he wanted to be able to take his Talking Book machine with him on his walks or to the park, etc. In addition to that, I was also surprised on how much the people were willing to adapt to the method of operation for the design, and how they remarked that whatever it ended up being, they would become accustomed to using it.

I was happy with my end result, but unfortunately because it was my second ID studio class it looks horrible aesthetically. Eventually I will go back into that project and re-design it to have a better look and therefore be acceptable to add to my portfolio.

I was incredibly close to designing a wheelchair for my senior thesis project after I had spent roughly 3 months in one because I broke my Tibia and tore the ligaments in my ankle during my Junior year in college (sking accident). The biggest thing I had trouble with was mobility! I have a strong respect for ADA building codes after I had to squeeze through countless doorways and enterances by just a few inches.

In the end I passed on the idea because I realized that my experience was related to being TEMPORARILY handicaped, and I figured that the subject of wheelchairs and furniture that accomidated handicap persons has been explored plenty.