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RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design announces partnership with Invisible Creations® to improve the lives of older people

The Royal College of Art’s (RCA) Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design (HHCD) has announced a collaboration with Invisible Creations®, a company dedicated to designing attractive and discreet home adaptations. 

The collaboration aims to better understand how the ageing population interact with their homes. Both Invisible Creations® and RCA place people at the heart of design and understand the importance of incorporating older people, and their lived experience, into the design process. 

The partnership consists of a nine-month research project - Homes That Care: Home Comforts. According to research by the Centre for Ageing Better there are 4.3 million non-decent homes in England, almost half of which are lived in by someone over the age of 55. In addition, 15% of all wheelchair users live in a non-decent home. The research also shows that many people delay installing home adaptations because of their clinical appearance and negative associations with vulnerability and loss of independence. The current model of home adaptations is built around function and need, rather than centred on what people actually want and desire. 

HHCD and Invisible Creations® will explore how people aged 65+ currently engage and experience their home environments, including the products within it. The project will assess how future products, homes and environments can evolve to fit people’s current and future needs and aspirations. It will culminate in the development of a new range of attractive and inclusive products, designed to support people to live more independently at home for longer.

Dr Chris McGinley, Senior Research Fellow & Leader of Age & Diversity Research, Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Royal College of Art said:

‘We are extremely excited to partner with Invisible Creations® on this project. We have shared passion around challenging ageist approaches to design, and intend to develop designs that are both accessible and desirable. In Invisible Creations® we feel we have an industry partner genuinely driven to offer alternatives to the utilitarian and stigmatising products that have been tolerated for far too long.’ 

Paul Pentelow, Head of Product Design, Invisible Creations® said

‘As an advocate of inclusive design, I'm delighted that we are working with The Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design to better understand how people interact with their homes. People have been at the centre of our product design and business creation, to ensure that we create adaptations and home solutions that support mobility and dignity. This ground-breaking academic study will shine a light on the real-world challenges people face and will give Invisible Creations® and others a foundation to truly drive great design within homes as people age or their needs change. The Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design share our passion to Design for Dignity™ and this collaboration will no doubt inspire some very exciting product ideas.’