Staff and students at the university’s Faculty of Arts and Architecture and School of Environment and Technology are being invited to submit designs that address one or more challenges associated with ageing, but which also look attractive.
The winner will be awarded £1000 and may have their idea put into production by Future Perfect, although company founder Philippa Aldrich says that, for now, she merely hopes to ‘raise awareness about this underdeveloped area of design’.
Aldrich is looking for products that tackle short-term memory loss, failing eyesight and hearing, and problems with manual dexterity.
In a statement, the company criticises the ‘uninspiring’ retail design of mobility shops, and observes that products for older people are ‘usually dull and clinical with very little emphasis on attractive design, making them “necessary evils” that highlight disability rather than aid and promote ability’.
The competition will be judged by Aldrich, the university’s dean of the Faculty of Arts and Architecture Anne Boddington, Age Concern and Help the Aged consumer markets policy adviser Gretel Jones and BBC Two’s Design For Life finalist Mike Cloke.
The deadline for entries is 3 May, with the winner announced in June.