With a brief to promote ideas of universal design for all ages, the second German-based LebensTM raume competition for students of design and architecture drew some exciting responses.
Titled Living Spaces for the Elderly – Bathroom Visions for the Future, the competition was sponsored by Hewi and organised by publishing house Vincentz Verlag and International Forum Design in Germany.
The first prize went to Hang and Glide – a flexible bathroom interior concept, designed by Marco Steiner and Markus Schaling from Berlin-Weissensee Art College.
The bathroom has core elements that are placed along a horizontal rail-type profile for ease of movement. A universal seat functions as a raised seat over the toilet; a temporary collapsible slatted shower cubicle expands and contracts; the washbasin has a moveable tap and drain, and there is an inflatable hip bath.
The bathroom features create the ‘open’ system that can be adapted to fit individual needs.
The design was judged as addressing all target groups – young, elderly, short and tall, as well as those with a disability. It also allows someone recovering from an illness the option of removing and modifying some functions.
The universal design judging criteria required concepts to provide intuitive use, safety and flexibility as well as good accessibility, creativity and social relevance.