A touch of universal design thinking has entered the design of bathroom design and fittings. Research from many quarters has established that people want to stay home in their later years. Consequently designers need to get on board with designs that are functional and look good too. A whitepaper from Nero Tapware updates designers on bathroom aesthetics and accessibility.
“Accessible living spaces are becoming increasingly important as the majority of Australians, both with and without disabilities, have a desire to stay in their current homes rather than enter residential aged care.”
The Nero whitepaper discusses the many aspects of design in the context of the new Livable Housing Design Standard in the National Construction Code. However, their bathroom layout and overall style is similar to the public bathroom design. A universal design approach would use the space creatively and leave out grab rails until, or unless they were needed. That’s because grab rails placement needs to fit the individual user’s requirements.
“By modifications to our built environment, architects and designers can promote usability, participation in activities, and enable older users to live comfortably and independently.”
It is good to see product designers preparing to align with the new Livable Housing Design Standard. However, the photographs in the whitepaper do not align with the universal design concept of the Standard. That is, each picture shows grab rails which are not part of the Standard. However, reinforcement in the walls is required so that grab rails can be added later at any placement the user needs.
Aesthetics impact wellbeing
The whitepaper nicely spells out all the issues including the importance of wellbeing. It notes that a liveable home must be multifunctional and it must feel like home. Lack of colour matching and styling options can end up looking clinical. The whitepaper argues that end users feel undervalued, neglected and uncared for.
The whitepaper is titled Aesthetics, Accessibility & Ageing: Designing Livable Spaces Without Compromising Function or Style. It was published in Architecture and Design. The full 58 page Mecca Care product catalogue has great pictures and a section on assistive living.
The Mecca range is specifically for people who require assistive living designs. While the photographs show nicely designed bathrooms, grab rails take the look and feel away from a “conventional” bathroom. But if these fixtures and fittings keep you at home for longer then at least they can look good. Wall hung toilet pans, however, are a good idea for any home.
Universal in-wall bodies
A companion Nero whitepaper is A Universal Approach to Bathroom Installation. The in-wall body is an installation that separates the in-wall body from the trim kit – the visible bits. In-wall bodies allow builders and customers to select the right fittings after tilers have finished. Customers can delay their design decision informed by the latest trends. At a later date home owners can update their fittings without affecting walls and tiles.
Images from the Nero whitepaper. This post did not receive any sponsorship and is provided as a relevant item of information.