NEW OLD: Designing for Life
Our society is a rapidly ageing one, expedited by advancements in healthcare and shifting attitudes to well-being amongst other factors. NEW OLD is a pop-up exhibition at the London Design Museum exploring the implications of this global phenomenon, presenting key statistics as well as proposed solutions from various designers.
Visitors are asked to participate by filling up a form to state at what age they think ‘old’ begins and why, with a range of 20-29 years to over 100 provided.
Yves Behar and Superflex’s Aura Powered Suit is intended to aid wearers in actively engaging with the world around them. Current solutions for limited mobility often result in a more sedentary lifestyle, but Aura harnesses wearable technology that enhances the wearer’s muscle power.
Hexagonal pods are clustered around major muscle groups, giving the wearer a boost and enabling them to continue carrying out daily activities. The design is fairly sleek and does resemble high-performance sportswear, easily worn under clothing for a snug fit.
London-based agencies Karmarama and Mother created their projects with a view to market ageing as something positive and desirable. This was in response to a brief set by Creative Review to challenge common perceptions of an ageing population being a burden.
Mother London’s concept was based on alcoholic spirits, where the ageing process adds to the value of the product. The agency created a series of ‘fine aged spirits’ in bottles that were labeled with decade numbers from 50 to 90.
On the other hand, Karmarama visualised life’s experiences as book-filled shelves with titles from ‘Dealing with Arseholes’ to ‘How To Take Criticism’. It’s an interesting metaphor, suggesting that our individual ‘bookcases’ are made experientially richer with age.
Design for All Phases
Scooter for Life was born out of a desire to increase interaction between different generations by providing a solution that would cater to all ages and not just the silver set. Unlike present mobility scooter models, Scooter for Life products can be easily folded up and brought into shops or on public transport. These were conceptualised by PriestmanGoode and can be seen in several attractive colourways.
Aside from the outcomes that were specially commissioned for the exhibit, many of the projects in NEW OLD have been present for a few years at the very least. It’s a promising sign that an increasing number of designers and agencies are developing answers to the challenges ahead. Here’s hoping that NEW OLD will inspire many more to do the same.
Catch NEW OLD before it ends on 19 February.