Comfort and safety are fundamental
Before starting development of the Santiago 02 range, it was important to TON to conduct in-depth research and numerous interviews with residents and employees of rehabilitation facilities and care homes for the elderly. The goal was to understand their requirements as clearly as possible so that the design would take all the crucial functions of fully accessible furniture into account. The interviews quickly revealed that comfort and safety are the key criteria. The furniture should be robust and not roll away when the user touches or leans against it. User comfort was also an important criterion, since many of those surveyed suffered from bedsores and calluses.
Features of fully accessible furniture
The Santiago 02 products are based around a structure of solid beech, which is further strengthened with extended armrests and handrails in the case of the chairs and armchairs. “The design provides a lot of support when sitting down and standing up. The armrests on the easy chairs have been extended around the back of the backrest to create a handrail that makes it easier to move around the furniture. Underneath the dining table, there is a special groove that allows the user to sit down independently and pull their chair up to the table,” says designer René Šulc, explaining the key characteristics of the collection. The chairs, armchairs and accessories feature a series of ergonomic elements, guaranteeing both comfort and stability. “For example, the gentle wave of the easy chair’s leaf-shaped design simulates the sensation of a warm embrace. Coupled with the careful selection of polyurethane foams in various degrees of firmness for the headrests and backrests, the shape of the chair supports the sitter in the correct seating position and thus creates a feeling of comfort and stability,” clarifies the designer.
The collection’s distinctive look is the result of consultation with the residents and employees of care facilities. “Our collection’s customers placed great value on the importance of a homely atmosphere, and I therefore wanted to remove any stigma – at least visually – associated with hospital facilities and helplessness,” the designer emphasises. Through his design, Šulc strives to get as close as possible to a conventional chair or a conventional settee while integrating all the important ergonomic and functional elements required by people with limited mobility. The materials used in the collection also contribute towards the creation of a cosy, home-like atmosphere. “As a natural material, wood is seen as pleasant, timeless and homely,” continues Šulc.
Another point that came out of the survey was that care staff also appreciate furniture that is practical as well as being easy to maintain and transport. “For example, the option to choose a different colour to the backrest for the seat helps to cover up unsightly stains. Also, the electric recliner can be charged overnight and then wheeled on its swivelling castors to where it is wanted,” explains the designer. A removable tray table, cushions in various sizes, retractable armrests and adjustable footrests and headrests are some of the additional elements that make the recliner practical for both professional healthcare and home care settings.
The collection from TON comprises nine products: an electric recliner, an easy chair with and without a headrest, a two-seater and a three-seater sofa, a footrest, a screen as well as a model of a dining chair and a dining table.