Jan 4, 2014

Design for disability at all scales

When most people hear “design” and “disability” in the same sen- tence, they tend to be thinking about artificial limbs, or super high- end wheelchairs, or 3D printed replacement parts. Those designs can be terrific feats of engineering; but it can be much more revealing to think about design operating at scales other than products. Consider this taste map of the London tube, or these Braille-friendly banjo tabs. Where do these kinds of designs originate, and what do they tell us about being human? Think, too, about access as a feature of good urban retrofitting or family-friendly transportation. And at the scale of build- ings and plazas, take a look at the memorializing, haunting work of Anna Schuleit’s Bloom, or the monumental scale and visibility of Marc Quinn’s public sculptural work from 2005, Alison Lapper Pregnant. Thinking about these works as design, or as art, or as engineering is as complex as it is productive.