Jen Bernard, Founder and MD of Bernard Interiors recently visited The Catalyst, the impressive headquarters for the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA). As a practice, we have specialist knowledge in design for later living, healthcare and dementia care, so it is fantastic to have this facility in such close proximity to our studio. Bernard Interiors and NICA have aligned views regarding the stigmas attached to design for ageing and dementia, and together through collaboration we are focused on changing this.
Jen met with Lynne Corner, COO at NICA and Catherine Butcher, Knowledge and Exchange Manager for NICA. During a tour of the extensive facilities The Catalyst offers, Jen was introduced to ‘The World’s Most Intelligent Kitchen’, designed by prominent kitchen designer Johnny Grey and Professor Peter Gore. As across the world, homes are now becoming ‘multigenerational’, Grey and Gore collaborated to create a kitchen that flexes and adapts to meet the different needs of all ages. Features built into the design include warnings and safety features to protect both younger and older users such as spill detection, slip hazards and adjustable access to different devices and drawers. As well as safety features, the height of key areas and appliances can adjust to different users’ needs. Intelligent technology has also been installed throughout such as smart ‘cooking anywhere’ induction surfaces and embedded appliance powering to eliminate visible power cables.
In addition to Lynne and Catherine sharing knowledge and research from NICA, Jen was able to share Bernard Interiors’ approach to designing interiors for later living environments. High quality design for dementia care can help people continue to enjoy their lives and with careful thought, aesthetics do need to be compromised to provide safer and more durable environments. For each project we work on, we look at the site history and locality for design inspiration to resonate with the people who will live there. We also consider the longevity of the design – we want the interiors to appeal to all ages to encourage intergenerational socialisation. This is something that has been highlighted as very important to the ageing population.
“It was great to meet Lynne and Catherine and to see how passionate they are about changing the stigmas and challenges attached to ageing. As our collaboration with NICA develops, we look forward to working together on CPD’s, workshops and joint events to continue in our efforts to defy the preconceived ideas of later living,” commented Jen.
Watch this space!