Blue Badge Style
Design students from Brunel University London are currently working alongside Fiona Jarvis, founder of Blue Badge Style, to create a new range of wheelchair components and accessories, which are practical, stylish and more varied than those currently available. A disability campaigner, Fiona challenged Brunel’s final year Product Design students to address four main design areas:
bag, party, chair and rain.
Important aspects of wheelchairs, such as the needs and experience of the users, are often overlooked during the design process, and the details and style are very limited. Small considerations such as ensuring bags can be secured, yet easily accessible, can greatly affect a wheelchair user’s day-to-day experience. Another common problem for wheelchair users is staying dry in wet weather, given that it’s almost impossible to hold an umbrella whilst effectively operating a wheelchair. Given these challenges, Brunel’s students considered aesthetically pleasing and stylish accessories such as wheel covers and practical accessories which would not hinder the user’s ability to manoeuvre their chair, to enhance their everyday experience.
The concepts that resulted from this challenge were put to a public vote in December 2014. The most popular items are being made into working prototypes and sent to various companies to consider opportunities for manufacturing and marketing.