Poäng. Ektorp. Billy. Since its founding in 1943, Swedish furniture giant Ikea has supplied an abundance of iconic household products, entering both homes across the world and the cultural lexicon. Yet these restrained and affordable goods, while marketed on their universality, may not be suited for everyone. “Our everyday home environments do not always anticipate the unique needs of people battling cognitive and physical frailty,” says the Lien Foundation, a Singapore organization that recently commissioned two local studios — Lekker Architects and Lanzavecchia + Wai — to produce Hack Care, a richly illustrated guide that leverages “practical hacks, wacky ideas and simple tips” to make an array of the manufacturer’s mass-produced objects safer for an aging population dealing with dementia, plus assist those who care for them.
Ranging from a cutting surface adorned with repurposed locks to create a “fidget board” for tactile stimulation to a newly mobile “living table” fitted with wheels and a rail for hanging various compartments, each ingenious small transformation also features an introduction detailing the science behind the design before presenting the various scenarios in which the adapted object can be used.
One of the most striking hacks is a reimagining of Japanese designer Noboru Nakamura’s Poäng chair into a sturdy, reinforced seat that demonstrates the potential for this now-ubiquitous product. Other chapters outline further considerations, such as lighting, while presenting entire domestic landscapes of modified products.
With over 50 million people today dealing with the effects of dementia, most of them over the age of 60, the free manual is a reminder that aging is a process deserving of grace, dignity and, most importantly, empathy. All it takes is a bit of care.
Singapore studios Lekker Architects and Lanzavecchia + Wai have teamed up to produce Hack Care: a free guide full of “practical hacks, wacky ideas and simple tips” that designs for cognitive decline.