Universal design, liveability and even sustainability are some of the phrases that get thrown around when designers think about catering for an aging population, but combined with ideals for disabled and multigenerational living (ageing in place), they all point towards the same ‘magna carta’: accessible design that works for every member of society .
This focus on liveability, while traditionally most focused on key areas such as bathrooms, has made itself known in recent kitchen design trends. While mandatory standards AS 1428.1, AS 1428.2 and AS 4299 dictate how to achieve an accessible kitchen for most of the population, here we explore five products and systems that help make kitchens an easier place to navigate and use for all.
Pressalit height adjustable kitchen lifts
Enware Caredesign offers an expanded Danish-designed Pressalit Care range of vertical lifting units that allow worktops and wall cupboards to be manually or electrically height-adjusted for standing or seated users, including wheelchair occupants and children.
This allows users to participate in working or other joint activities irrespective to their differences in mobility and physical ability, and can be used in everything from small residential kitchens to larger shared facilities in educational and workplace settings.
Pressalit wall mounted electric worktops lift mechanism. Image: Enware
The lifts are contained within telescopic legs and behind cupboard fittings, and safety features include shielding (unobtrusive plates and pressure-sensitive safety bars) designed to prevent injury in operation.
Kitchen Electrical Lift Mechanisms from Hafele
This lift mechanism from Hafele is designed not just for accessibility but also aesthetics. Suitable for raising and lowering an entire cabinet or a cabinet interior vertically, the system allows microwaves, ovens and even shelves to be hidden from view, but easy to reach when required.
It is operated by a remote control, with the compact design of the lift able to fit into most standard kitchen cabinets. The kitchen lift is also easy to install with plug and play connections and components packaged in one carton.
SERVO-DRIVE by Blum
SERVO-DRIVE is an electric motion support system that allows lift systems and pull-outs to be opened and closed with just a single touch. Equipped with BLUMOTION for soft and effortless motion, the system can be used for wall cabinets and base units, such as Blum’s AVENTOS, TANDEMBOX and TANDEM, whether they have handle-less fronts, are heavy or light, or wide or narrow pull-outs.
Users can stop pull-outs and wall cabinets in any position and set them in motion again when they want to. In the event of a power failure the fittings will continue to be fully functional.
Servo-Drive for Aventos: Lift systems open electrically at a single touch, and fronts close at the press of a switch. Image: Blum
GROHE Easy Touch faucets
Instead of fiddling with tap levers, GROHE Easy Touch faucets allow users to control the flow of water in kitchens with just a touch from their wrist, forearm or the back of their hand. The technology is completely concealed within the faucet, and lets you turn it on and off without leaving a mark, meaning faucets remain clean and bacteria free for longer.
The Touch function comes in a cold water version, or upgrade to include warm water controlled by a thermostat. A lever controls the flow and temperature of the water.
Safe for children, the technology is currently available with Grohe's Zeda or Minta range. The latter comes with either a curved C-shaped swivel-spout with pull-out mousseur spray, or an L-shaped swivel spout with a pull-out mousser.
Grip Guard Floor Treatment
Slips and falls are one of the most common causes of injury, so ensuring floors are “just right” in terms of their slip resistance is important. The Grip Guard non-slip treatment works to microscopically modify floor surfaces to increase the grip for bare feet, shoes and all kinds of pneumatic and solid wheel tires. Invisible to the naked eye, it is not a coating and will not wear off, and floors can be cleaned as per normal.
According to Grip Guard, its operators will measure the coefficient of friction (CoF) of all floor surfaces prior to and after the treatment to ensure safety standards are met.
Grip Guard also offers the DuraGrip PU Anti-Slip sealer that is suitable for vinyl, linoleum, rubber, epoxy and timber floors. Creating a hard wearing floor surface resistant to scratches and friction wear, the sealant is made from perfectly round glass beads that do not attach to mops or other cleaning equipment, meaning cleaning doesn’t wear it down. It also makes floors resistant to chemicals and plasticisers.