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Hamlyn Walker

Hamlyn Walker Challenge

Lady Helen Hamlyn, Patron of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the RCA described the walking frame or ‘walker’ as “the most degrading object that we can give to anybody”. Walkers are functional products, but highly medicalised and stigmatised, so many people who would most benefit from using them abandon, avoid or postpone getting one, compromising their mobility.

Confident that good design can shift the negative stigma of walking frames, Lady Hamlyn commissioned the Design Age Institute to launch The Hamlyn Walker Challenge.

Product designer Michael Strantz’s winning proposal was for a single frame that can meet the needs of different generations. Strantz is now working with design agency PriestmanGoode and user groups to explore further possibilities and continue to challenge the current stigma about walking frames.


Intellage Poster

IntellAge is a smart insole system for daily use. It aims to keep users active and safe by digitally tracking mobility and gait through a smart sensor system that feeds data into an app. By connecting users to real-time information and prompts, they can improve their understanding of gait and mitigate the risk of falls. Created by Walk with Path, the project was inspired by founder Lise Pape’s experience of her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease, and its impact on his independence, mobility and wellbeing.

Recent industrial action by ambulance staff in the UK and Wales warned older people that if they fell at home, it was unlikely they would be able to respond to calls. Further evidence to just how important it is to better manage one’s own mobility.


Tides credit Eeva Rinne

By 2025, over a billion women globally will be experiencing menopause. Tides is a whole body massager designed to be used as part of a self-care routine. It is a long term therapy option to tone the pelvic floor muscle and stimulate blood flow during a key period of life where the body changes and evolves. Most importantly, Tides is non penetrative and non genital focused.

Designed by Salome Bazin, founder of Cellule Studio in collaboration with Giulia Tomasello, Tides uses vibration technologies to support menopausal women, offering incredible benefits such as relaxation, pleasure and improved sleep by increasing blood flow and keeping tissue healthy and oxygenated.

Home Office

Home Office live _ workspace credit Paul Jones, Chris Brown and Adam Cosheril

More and more people are extending their working lives, and older workers represent a valuable source of experience, talent and financial contribution to the economy. Flexible working is key to keeping older people in the workforce. However, while many are increasingly working from home, few homes are designed to support healthy, independent and active living and working beyond the traditional retirement age.

Home Office to Age in Place brings together architects, designers for ageing and digital designers from Northumbria University, along with furniture designers from Pentagram, the world’s largest independent design consultancy. Together they have created a purpose-built, flexible, and supportive live-work space for older residents in South Seaham Garden Village, County Durham for Karbon Homes.

Coaroon Coat

Coaroon Coat

Older people are some of the most vulnerable people affected by the current UK energy crisis. As people age, they have less tolerance to cold temperatures which can significantly impact their health and independence. Coaroon, which takes its name from ‘cocoon coat’ and from the Scottish word 'coorie' meaning cuddle, is a garment for the home that supports an individual’s freedom of movement, while sustaining an even body temperature across a range of everyday activities, from reading, to working, to cooking.

Conscious of the increasing costs of heating and its environmental impact, the creators of Coaroon, Joan Johnston of Ava Innes and Sarah Morehead of Self-Made Studios, were inspired to produce a skilfully made garment that helps people live longer, and more sustainably, at home. Coaroon is made from an innovative natural insulation fabric using cashmere goat guard hair, a by-product of cashmere production traditionally ignored by the textile industry. The guard hair is continually grown, shed and clipped annually, a natural and sustainable cycle. This new fabric is thermally regulating, insulating in Winter and cooling in Summer, so it has many potential uses.

Interested in how design can transform ageing?