Designs of the Year – and defining what ‘design’ really is

design week…Another nomination taking an innovative approach to children’s healthcare is Chair 4Life, created by a team including Bruce Renfrew, James Williamson, Shaun Philips and Michael Phillips of the Leicester-based Renfrew Group. The chair was created for the NHS to be used with children aged four to 18, and uses a modular form that can be fully customised to suit the user. It grows as the child does, and takes into consideration a number of issued often overlooked in designing for disabled young adults.

‘People don’t think about rites-of-passage like being served a drink in a pub’, Michael Philips says. As such, the seat can be adjusted to standing height, allowing direct eye contact with able-bodied adults. ‘One child said that having the chair was like all his Christmases had come at once’, Phillips adds. That, surely, is testament to great design…

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