We don't talk much about ageing at TreeHugger, but most everyone has a grandparent or parent who is coping with ways of living with old age.
It's not pretty but it's coming to all of us. This small show, called Stigmas, is a collection of wooden chairs that have been adapted in such a way as to prompt reflection on issues of ageing.
Photo: B. Alter
Each of the chairs has been adapted to reflect problems of mobility and cognitive functioning. But its creator, Paul Chamberlain, has taken these everyday domestic objects and highlighted the issues in a quirky and sympathetic way.
The Adjustable Chair (left, above) has a saw attached so that the legs can be altered in length. With restricted mobility and dexterity, suddenly steps become too high and chairs can be too low. The Danger Chair (right) has bright tape on the front and back, signaling where the edges of the chair lie. Another one, the Wayfinder, has a small compass in the middle of the seat, because the elderly will have to compensate for lost orientation and balance.
Photo: B. Alter
The Sit Chair has the word Sit on the seat. This is a reminder that the elderly can become confused and forget where they are going or what they are doing.
Paul Chamberlain is a professor at Sheffield Hallam University as well as a furniture maker. He is working on creative strategies for the development of future living environments in which people of all ages and abilities can live with a sense of empowerment and dignity.
He has designed the show to "provide an opportunity for older people to participate and help us better understand the issues of ageing that might inform the design of future products and living environments to enhance quality of life in later life. The collaboration has provided an opportunity to reflect on the cultural aspects of ageing."