Editor Hamish Kilburn speaks to Michael Huber, Head of Studio (Berlin) at Studio F. A. Porsche, to understand how the studio, together with KEUCO, has redesigned the grab rail…
When all attempts by designers are being made in 2023 to ensure the whole hotel experience – and its meaningful design narrative – is seamless and cohesive, there is therefore nothing more frustrating than entering a new hotel to find that its ‘accessible rooms’ have not been given the attention to detail than the rest of the property.
What is encouraging to see, though, is manufacturers making efforts in order to challenge conventional approaches to DDA accommodation. KEUCO is one of those brands, which has just unveiled that its latest collection, KEUCO AXESS, of stylish rails, grab rails, drop bars and shower seating have been designed in collaboration with Studio F. A. Porsche.
To understand more about what made this project special, I caught up with Henning Rieseler, Head of Studio (Berlin) at Studio F. A. Porsche, who describes the new collection as “puristic, high-end and fascinating.” I was keen to learn why.
“After a lot of prototypes and also some resets in the project, we finally all agreed on the perfect mechanism.” – Michael Huber, Head of Global Business Development, Studio F. A. Porsche.
Hamish Kilburn: What might our audience not know about Studio F. A. Porsche?
Henning Rieseler: Next to the designs for our own brands, Porsche Design and Porsche Lifestyle, the studio has been working for more than 50 years in a very wide range of industries and companies. Whether it be industrial machines, medical equipment, furniture, trains, ships and even products such as beer crates:
Whenever we show our entire product portfolio, most of the people are really surprised that our design principles are applied to so many products.
HK: Why did your studio decide to partner with KEUCO to design this collection?
HR: There was an immediate strong interest from our side when KEUCO approached us. On the one hand, the mindset of both companies matched: the highest demand for quality and innovative solutions. On the other hand however, we were fascinated by designing a product for elder generations or disabled people with the approach of finding the best possible integration into premium bathroom interiors.
HK: What was your approach to ensure the KEUCO AXESS range was both functional and aesthetically striking?
HR: When we started the design process for the supporting handle, we realised immediately that a pure redesign with only improving the materials and shape, would not lead to a new product with a breakthrough in new aesthetics’ within the world of care products. Therefore, we stopped thinking of the aesthetics and just concentrated in the first phase on finding a solution on how to hide the bulky appearance of the product when not in use. A lot of ideas were developed with sliding and rotating mechanisms. These ideas were shared with the KEUCO team and then developed into different directions to ensure the best user experience, always with a strong focus on safety and easy usability.
After a lot of prototypes and also some resets in the project, we finally all agreed on the perfect mechanism. The clean aesthetics of the final product were then just the consequence of the innovative functionality.
HK: What makes this range intelligently designed?
HR: While the supporting handle is obviously the innovative driver of the product range, other items such as the rail system and the chair also included innovations like the shape of the rails, which not only looked good but also improved ergonomics and safety. Overall, the entire series follows the aim to appear as premium products, which naturally fit into high-end and very aesthetically modern private bathrooms.
HK: You mention that the aim was to develop the products from a new perspective. What characteristics of Porsche can be found in the design?
HR: Based on the principles of our founder Ferdinand Alexander Porsche, we design products which pair functionality with aesthetics. Typical keywords which transform these ideas into all Porsche products are Focus and Purpose. Whether it is a car, a lifestyle product or a care product for bathroom interiors, a purposeful design with a clear focus on its user scenario is the Porsche way to design a product.
HK: How do you hope this collection changes the perception of accessible design?
HR: We are, of course, pleased that the topic of accessible design is promoted and brought to a wider audience by the products which we designed for KEUCO. In the long run however, we hope that these products will no longer be described as items for the elderly or disabled people, but are realised as just very good products which can be used by anyone.
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Main image credit: KEUCO