By 2030, one in four New Zealanders will be over 65 — and the vast majority intend to stay in their own homes. The ‘dream homes’ designed and built during their active years will need to be fit-for-purpose as bodies change and movements slow down.
As every designer knows, it’s a lot easier to build in functionality at the conceptual stage than it is to add it later. That’s why furniture hardware company Blum provides sensory exploration sessions using the AgeExplorer suit.
Developed by the Meyer-Hentschel Institute in Germany, AgeExplorer simulates sight and hearing impairment, loss of muscle strength, stiff joints, and arthritis. The straps, weights, goggles, and restrictive stitching in the suit mimic the effects of ageing to generate insights into the world of an elderly person or a person with physical limitations.
Blum’s New Zealand Marketing Manager, Kate Kapitonova, says the AgeExplorer suit is used by Blum worldwide to investigate the furniture requirements of users across all stages of their life. The insights gained over the last 20 years have supported the development of products such as SPACE TOWER, the pantry solution with pull-out drawers for anyone struggling with bending down and stretching; SPACE STEP, which provides a stable pull-out plinth to improve access to high-level storage, and the SERVO-DRIVE electrical opening support system that enables pull-outs to be opened with a light touch.
However, AgeExplorer is much more than a tool to help manufacturers refine their products. It’s also an invaluable aid to designers and cabinet makers looking to future-proof their spatial designs in the kitchen and beyond.
An invitation to explore the fourth dimension: time.
Kate Kapitonova says all kinds of professionals can take advantage of the AgeExplorer facilities in Blum’s Auckland and Christchurch showrooms.
“We invite all of our customers, designers and cabinet makers to come and experience the suit for themselves. I promise it’s something you won’t forget — in just minutes you’ll feel the effects of ageing over 20 years!
“We’ll help you put on the suit and then task you with multiple challenges. You can also interact with Blum displays and can appreciate practical solutions such as avoiding doors under bench height and providing a safe storage shelf on demand with a pull-out shelf lock.”
The AgeExplorer sessions are available free of charge, with no requirement to specify or incorporate Blum’s products. Perhaps the most valuable aspect is seeing furniture solutions from a functionality perspective rather than a design one. After all, you can change the design at early stages, but it’s difficult to replace missing functionality later on.
By stepping into an AgeExplorer suit at Blum’s showrooms now, you can step forward decades into the future world of your users.
Get in touch with the Blum team and book your free AgeExplorer session today.
The AgeExplorer® simulation suit is a trademark of the Meyer-Hentschel Institute.