5 objects for well-being
Background information

5 objects for well-being

Pia Seidel
4.1.2024
Translation: machine translated

Product designs that are dedicated to our health are on the rise. These five design objects that I saw at the Dutch Design Week are examples of this.

From tactile walls to target group-oriented peripherals - designers are increasingly recognising the untapped areas in product and industrial design. Especially when it comes to social and inclusive design. An overview of the latest objects that aim to appeal to our senses and increase well-being.

1. a wall that wants to be explored

Since 2014, the Dutch company A + N Studio has been designing distinctive walls and innovative surfaces. Its aim is to enrich people's surroundings. This is how the wall object "Touch Me Please" was created. When you touch it, it transforms your touch into sound. In doing so, it appeals to three of your senses: the visual, auditory and tactile senses. This activation is intended to provide a moment of escape from everyday life and help in stressful situations. The felt wall was developed in close collaboration with behavioural psychologist Philadelphia Zorg and two different care homes, for example to reduce the anxiety of newly arrived residents.

«Touch Me Please» is a wall object made of wool felt that encourages people to explore it.
«Touch Me Please» is a wall object made of wool felt that encourages people to explore it.
Source: Pia Seidel
It is not only visually and haptically appealing, but also makes pleasant sounds when touched.
It is not only visually and haptically appealing, but also makes pleasant sounds when touched.
Source: Pia Seidel

2. a room divider for the senses

The result of another research project by A + N Studio is a customisable room divider that reacts sensitively to air currents. "Metamorphosis" consists of numerous shapes made of laminated shoji paper, which is usually used to cover Japanese sliding screens. The idea for the design is based on attention restoration theory from the field of environmental psychology and is intended to produce the same effect as a walk in nature, which stimulates the senses and promotes concentration.

Attention restoration theory (ART) assumes that people can concentrate better after spending time in nature or even looking at natural scenes. The effortless noticing and fascination that nature scenes trigger can help to restore mental energy and thus strengthen our ability to concentrate.
The double-sided room divider «Metamorphosis» consists of stainless steel cords with movable paper shapes.
The double-sided room divider «Metamorphosis» consists of stainless steel cords with movable paper shapes.
Source: Pia Seidel
Its design offers endless possibilities to change the size, shape and pattern.
Its design offers endless possibilities to change the size, shape and pattern.
Source: Pia Seidel

3. a lamp to relieve stress

"Breathing Light" also relies on the attention restoration theory. But this lamp from A + N Studio goes one step further. It not only wants to improve the environment, but also your breathing. Because conscious breathing can be a great way to relax, the lamp creates moving points of light that emulate a gentle breathing rhythm. These are designed to encourage you to breathe. In the hope that this will reduce your stress levels. The movements and colour changes of the lamp are based on natural phenomena.

«Breathing Light» sets the breathing rhythm with light.
«Breathing Light» sets the breathing rhythm with light.
Source: Pia Seidel
This is designed to increase your concentration and help you focus better.
This is designed to increase your concentration and help you focus better.
Source: Pia Seidel

4. mice with inclusive design

The South Korean designer Soul Ahn has developed computer mice that are suitable for people with disabilities for his graduation project at the Design Academy Eindhoven. "Verti Grip Mouse", for example, is an ergonomic solution for people with a vertical claw hand. Its design addresses the special needs of users and is intended to be more comfortable and functional. By promoting a natural hand position, it reduces the strain on the wrist and forearm. In addition, the new shape and the differently arranged buttons support the grip.

«Verti Grip Mouse» (r. in the picture) is aimed at people with a vertical claw hand.
«Verti Grip Mouse» (r. in the picture) is aimed at people with a vertical claw hand.
Source: Pia Seidel
The customised mouse buttons and shape provide a better grip than conventional models.
The customised mouse buttons and shape provide a better grip than conventional models.
Source: Pia Seidel

5. a stone-shaped device for breathing exercises

The company Delftse Glimp is a start-up dedicated to mental health care. Their team has expertise in product design, software and healthcare. In collaboration with respiratory therapists, they recently developed two devices in the shape of two pebbles. They are designed to help you (re)learn how to breathe properly. "Pebbles" supports you with instructions and vibrations to learn breathing techniques to become more stress-resistant. At the same time, it allows you to monitor your progress via an app. The device has a thumb sensor that measures your oxygen saturation, heart rate and heart rate variability. It is aimed at anyone who feels burnt out or depressed, but also at happy people who want to use every breath to get one step closer to their goals.

«Pebbles» is designed to establish a healthy habit of conscious breathing.
«Pebbles» is designed to establish a healthy habit of conscious breathing.
Source: Pia Seidel
For this purpose, it offers breathing exercises and various measurement methods.
For this purpose, it offers breathing exercises and various measurement methods.
Source: Pia Seidel

The fact that designers are not creating the millionth chair for a change shows a newfound courage to fill the gap. Although it feels like everything already exists, there are still design deserts in some areas. Product design for people with physical, cognitive and mental disabilities in particular has some catching up to do. This is precisely where these objects, and hopefully others in the future, come in.

Cover photo: Pia Seidel

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Like a cheerleader, I love celebrating good design and bringing you closer to everything furniture- and interior design- related. I regularly curate simple yet sophisticated interior ideas, report on trends and interview creative minds about their work.


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