Finalist 2022

The Village

Helen Kontouris for Aplos

The Village provides dignity, safety and autonomy for residents of Aged Care facilities, optimising their sense of independence and wellbeing.

The Village seating system responds to a fundamental and increasing need for Aged Care furniture to be more human-centred, bringing people together and feeling socially connected. The Village collection heightens a sense of dignity and autonomy for the residents of Aged Care facilities, optimising their sense of wellbeing, safety and independence.

Objectives:

  • Create an Aged care collection with functional autonomy, safety, comfort and dignity.
  • Contribute to a sense of well-being and calm.
  • Create soft and moveable way-finding furniture that provides each interior space with a distinctive character and ensures each room and use is identifiable.
  • Adaptability within aged care facilities reduces the need or cost for large-scale "fit-out churn".

The Village evolved from a unique collaboration of research-informed on-site interviews with residents of Aged Care facilities, carers and specialist Architects and our design team to determine optimal dimensional comfort, autonomy and safety. We resolved "seat slumping" from furniture being too deep, leading to slipping, falls or the inability to stand up, creating a lack of dignity through optimal dimensional functionality. We designed The Village to be lightweight, and durable with varying foam densities, ensuring versatility, and flexibility and providing an opportunity for furniture way-finding structures.


This project was developed by:

Design Process

The Village results from an intensive 2-year research period where we interviewed Aged Care operators, residents and Architects to establish ways to improve the Aged Care experience. Our research into the human-centred design and ergonomics for this collection creates versatile and safe attributes. We designed and integrated safe seated depth, armrest angles, reduced leg pressure, lumbar support, seat height, and overall form, enabling residents to easily switch from sitting to standing.

The research-led design also informed and guided us in creating the correct dimensions that would solve issues such as unbalancing or causing a potential injury or the inability of a resident to lift themselves from the lounge whilst increasing comfort. Conceived to future-proof interior environments by fostering versatility and responding readily to the ever-evolving needs across aged care, workspaces, public seating, or education environments. With a compact 640D mm depth footprint, The Village encourages infinite freedom to explore creativity and define incredible interior spaces, creating uplifting environments to inhabit and enabling social interactions or secluded privacy.

Careful consideration of design details brings together the masterfully stitched detailing, and varying foam densities, creating a richly textured dimension to the collection. The Village sees creativity at its foundation, encouraging reconfiguration. Design Registered 2020.

Design Excellence

We've achieved a longer-lasting positive impact for our client Aplos and Aged care facilities and residents of these facilities by creating a collaborative research approach for the collection's design. Involving industry experts and combining this with our design team prevented us from making assumptions. We relied on research, anthropometrics and prototypes to test our theories then turned those concepts into the final product. Built into the design of The Village, we've incorporated the ability to use any textile, together with antibacterial and soil-proof capabilities.

Reducing costs of re-upholstery and providing an opportunity for specifiers and architects to select fabrics residents would've been familiar with using in their homes before entering an aged care facility, making the transition easier and fostering a sense of dignity. Function: Research-led design guided us in creating the correct dimensions that would solve issues such as unbalancing, causing injury or the inability for a resident to lift themselves from the lounge whilst increasing comfort. Safety:

Our research into the human-centred design and ergonomics for this collection creates versatile and safe attributes by ensuring the angles, armrest heights, and seat depth dimensions function to reduce slumping or the inability of residents to lift themselves out of a chair or lounge. There is a reduction in resident falls through better support, correct dimensions, and entire padded upholstery. Quality: High-quality foam, timber and steel construction built to exceed warranty and weight-bearing expectations. Environmental Impact: FSC timber with documented provenance.

Australian production sustains local manufacturing & skills. Designed for easy repair, disassembly or upholstery. GECA-certified environmentally friendly materials. Form: We designed and integrated safety within the seated depth, armrest angles, reduced leg pressure, lumbar support, seat height, and overall form, enabling residents to switch from sitting to standing more easily. Versatility: Add or subtract backrests, integrated power and side tables.

Design Innovation

Conceived to future-proof clients' needs by fostering its versatility and responding readily to the ever-evolving needs across the aged care sector. The Village encourages infinite freedom to explore creativity, define incredible interior spaces, create uplifting environments to inhabit and enable social interactions or provide privacy. Encouraging reconfiguration of seating elements defining the needs of a space. Each seating model has been carefully designed to blend contrasting and complementary combinations to support private or social areas within a shared room.

It was beneficial that the collection is enduring, beautiful, and crosses over from residential and aged care projects in response to interior environments' demanding and complex needs. We ensured sustainability was designed-in, and the collection could be disassembled and recycled, allowing the product's parts to be re-purposed for other products or donated. We also recycle clean fabric offcuts to create all The Village seating models, reducing landfill waste of otherwise discarded fabric textiles.

Design Impact

Creating a positive impact for the Aged Care sector and residents of these facilities from a collaborative research approach for the collection's design. Involving industry experts and combining this with our design team prevented us from making assumptions. We relied on research data, anthropometrics and prototypes to test our theories and then turned those concepts into the final product.

Social Impact: We achieved this by improving dimensional qualities & safety, and functionality, maintaining autonomy by balancing sit-to-stand ergonomic proportions and fostering a sense of dignity.

Commerciality: We have now expanded The Village collection to facilitate residential and contract markets. The distribution of The Village has rapidly grown to Australia, New Zealand and internationally.

Environmental Impact: FSC timber with documented provenance. Australian production sustains local manufacturing & skills. Designed for easy repair, disassembly or upholstery. GECA-certified environmentally friendly materials.

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