We’re continuing our week in Australia with this concept piece by Farrah Design, a bowl that helps the differently abled eat. Such a design isn’t new in itself, but Farrah’s approach certainly is novel: In addition to helping people eat, the bowl will help them eat in comfort by minimizing its appearance as a medical aid. Farrah’s concept, a silver winner at the 2016 Melbourne Design Awards, according to Design 100, is about aesthetics helping to increase a sense of dignity.
From the designers:
Through research documents and interviews with medical professionals we have determined that some patients can be hesitant to use some medical aids with non sympathetic aesthetics due to the perception of stigma associated. So could something that was originally designed to deliver all function with little aesthetic not be used in the first place rendering it useless, is there function IN form when considering the design of medical aids?
Originally inspired by the spiral shape of a sea shell, The Bowl by Farrah Design is designed to deliver assistance with the marshaling of food by the use of a progressive contour to “fold” food onto a utensil when making a circular movement. This contour is also mirrored for use with both hands. The bowl also features an orientation dimple to assist with proprioception, and has a flat centre for cutting to broaden the range of food held by the vessel. Lastly there is a marshaling moat meaning the user can push food in any direction before making circular movement to direct the food to the folding contour.
There were a number of design challenges including facilitating left or right handed use, delivering function for people with reduced motor movement and creating function without the form being too disruptive. There was also the consideration of which materials and construction methods to use. There were also a number of other challenges which are ongoing but still link with the complete design brief “to battle against stigma.” These include market penetration from restaurants to home care and in patient facilities. This means the product can be normalised in the market space and not have the perception of being designed just for people with disability, but rather of a product designed for all human beings. Involving a holistic approach to the entire problem rather than just the form of the bowl is essential if the concept is successful or not.
Such projects present their own unique set of challenges and it’s fascinating watching product designers find clever ways to overcome them. Please read our profile on Eatwell for a similar, though less-aesthetically focused design.
Do you love or loathe this design? Let us know in the comments.