Today, IKEA reveals a new range of furniture and homewares designed for people living with disabilities and different functional needs.
The Omtänksam collection, created in collaboration with ergonomists, physiotherapists and researchers has been designed to “help people overcome obstacles that make it difficult to enjoy an independent life” by adding new features that prioritise extra comfort and ease in functionality.
The name Omtänksam translates in Swedish to ‘thoughtful’, and it’s an accurate representation of the way the products have been considered for safe and comfortable use in all areas of the home.
IKEA reports that one in five Australians have some form of disability, with one-third of those reporting their customer needs are often unmet. This range is designed to combat this and includes the principles of ergonomics with the brand’s recognisable, Scandinavian design and simplistic silhouettes.
And IKEA’s founder Ingvar Kamprad approves. Before he passed in 2018, the 91-year-old tested a range of prototypes. “We wanted Ingvar to look at the prototypes and test them. We had an armchair taken to his home and I mean by this time, he was really old. We never got it back. I think he liked it,” says Britt Monti, IKEA creative leader.
The range is comprised of comfortable chairs, both lounging and dining, that are easy to get in and out of due to their upright position and wider backs, and tables that have no underframe.
There’s also a range of homewares and decor including easy-to-carry vases and glasses with indents in the middle for easy gripping, a silicone jar-opener to minimise pain and strain from conditions like arthritis, and a mixing bowl with a silicone lid that doubles as a stable base for mixing with one hand.
“Smart design is born when we see the world through the eyes of others. At the very moment we step back and change perspective, we open doors to new opportunities,” says Monti.
This is actually the second Omtänksam range from the furniture giant. In 2017, IKEA released products with extra durable porcelain that does not slip, grip-friendly cutlery and an ergonomically designed armchair.
The latest drop from IKEA is an extension on the existing range, and it’s available now, from May 1, both in-store and online.