High demands from the health sector have always strongly influenced the general design of assistive products and will continue to do so. But a clear tendency is emerging in the industry; designers are to a greater extent drawing the user into focus and wish to challenge the conventional status quo in the field of usability and design.

On our quest to find examples of new and highly interesting cooperations between designer and user, we came across a designer who is inspired by none other than his own grand mother. He addressed the questions, which a lot of users of assistive devices often ask the industry:

  • Why are all the products so industrial?
  • Why is everything made of molded plastic and aluminum?
  • Why do all the products look so sterile?

These questions were also addressed during the 9th international conference “Innovation and Creativity for Economy” kicked off 31st of March 2016, in Warsaw Poland. This year’s theme was Social Innovation In Industrial Design. One of the introductory speakers was the Danish designer and artisan, Anker Bak, who has a clear vision of bridging the gap between the rehabilitation product industry and Scandinavian furniture design.

At the conference, Anker Bak spoke about how he draws upon the Danish Design Traditions to transform this knowledge into new products under the concept of Assistive Furniture, without compromising on function and aesthetics. He shared his main principles of the user as the center of attention as a storyteller and the designer as facilitator, and how new life situations, new needs and new requirements create a new market opportunity for both business people and designers.

Over the past few years, Anker Bak has drawn a lot of attention to his design and his visions. Especially the introduction of his crutch, The PointAid MB, which is made in one single piece of moulded wood, has been positively noticed. It provides stability and has a moulded rolling foot, which ensures a cushioning-effect to reduce hand- and shoulder pain.

When asked what motivated him to redesign a crutch, Anker bak responds:

“The idea for the PointAid MB started with my 91-year-old grandmother, who didn’t want to leave the house with her unattractive walker. As she said, “People get new cars every day, but I cannot get a nice walker.” It all ended up with the PointAid MB crutch that gave her stability and the support she needs, so she once again can attend parties and social events. The only problem now is that people want to try her new crutch!”

To see more of Anker Bak’s work, visit his website here: www.ankerspoint.com

Like Bak, we at the Pressalit Care development department, strive to incorporate user-friendly design in our development of new products. Cooperating with talented internal as well as external designers on various projects enable our company and the designers to learn from each other providing mutual benefits for both parties as well as ultimately the users of our products. Designer Rasmus Thygesen is one of the external designers we have worked with in past development projects – among them the design of our product line Pressalit Care PLUS in which he was involved for two years. Hygiene and usability was key in this design process as well as taking design to a higher level in the category of assistive aids.

You can find more information on Rasmus Thygesen here: www.rasmusthygesen.dk

At Pressalit Care we hope to discover more innovative and passionate designers in the field of rehabilitation products. If you as a reader know about such, Danish or international, please let us know. We would love to shed light and share inspirations on the subject.