Gharieni GmbH
Gharieni GmbH
Gharieni GmbH

Editor's letter

Creating spaces for all

Why are people with disabilities still being let down by poorly designed spaces? Ensuring spaces are accessible for all shouldn’t be an afterthought, it should be part of the creative design process, says Magali Robathan


In 2017, artist Christopher Samuels was made technically homeless and forced to accept emergency accommodation in an inaccessible hotel room. “I couldn’t navigate around the bed in my wheelchair,” he told CLAD (see page 76). “I couldn’t get into the bed, I couldn’t use the dressing table. I couldn’t shut the bathroom door, or use the toilet or shower.”

This experience stayed with Samuels, and when art commissioning programme Unlimited put out a call for submissions to design a guestroom for an innovative arts-led hotel in Blackpool, UK, he knew what he wanted to do.

Art Bnb features 19 guestrooms-come-art installations, designed by different artists to get guests thinking.

Samuels’ room has been designed to be deliberately frustrating to use – the bed is surrounded by a high ‘lip’ that guests have to climb over, the bathroom door doesn’t shut, the television can only be viewed in the mirror and the shower gel dispenser is upside down.

“I wanted to make people experience the reality of what it’s like to be disabled: the frustrations of having to navigate a space which isn’t designed for them,” explains Samuels.

Unfortunately, Samuels’ experience is far from unusual. Twenty years on from the introduction of the Americans with Disabilities Act in the US and 15 years on from the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act in the UK, poorly designed spaces are still a reality for many.

Recently, a lawsuit was filed against the new Stephen Holl-designed Hunters Point Library in New York, with disability rights advocates arguing that the building was “designed and built with a total disregard for adults and children with mobility disabilities”.

Heatherwick’s Vessel also attracted protests and a complaint by the United States Department for Justice alleging that much of the structure was not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Accessibility has now been improved at Vessel, and changes have been made to Hunters Point Library, but the question remains – why aren’t all users being considered at the design stage?

The Musholm holiday sports and conference centre in Korsor, Denmark, has won a host of awards for the 2015 redesign of the original site. The AART-designed venue features 24 fully accessible hotel rooms, a climbing wall suitable for wheelchair users, a relaxation room for people with difficulty concentrating, and a 100m athletics and wheelchair racing track leading up to a sky lounge.

Making spaces accessible shouldn’t be an add-on or an afterthought; it should be an integral part of the design process. It’s about the relationship between people and space; about engaging with how different bodies will use a space. Most of all, it’s about creativity, and that, after all, is what designers and architects are good at.

company profile
Company profile: SPARCSTUDIO
Sparcstudio offers a bespoke and comprehensive design service with real attention to detail. Logical and inspiring space planning forms the bedrock of all Sparcstudio projects.
videos
BluGalaxy a Division of Blu Spas
Blu Spas
This animation showcases the beautiful concept design of BluGalaxy Spa.
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Health & Fitness: Working it
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

Smooth in-situ concrete dominates the building’s interior spaces including the foyer below
Alexander Schwarz
"Our aim was to create a place celebrating public space and accessibility"

The opening of the James-Simon- Galerie on Berlin’s Museum Island completes two decades of work for David Chipperfield Architects. The lead designer talks us through the building

The views of the mountains take centre stage
"Sam was such a champion for the team, and my goal is simply to carry that same torch"

As Blackberry Mountain resort opens in Tennessee, we find out why the project is a deeply personal one for owner Mary Celeste Beall

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
features
Interview: Olga Polizzi
Olga Polizzi is director of design for Rocco Forte Hotels and also owns two of her own hotels
"On Via Sistina, everything breathes history. At the same time I wanted to reflect the modern hunger for the fantastical - Tommaso Ziffer"

Following the highly anticipated launch of Rome’s Hotel de la Ville, Rocco Forte’s director of design reflects on a fascinating project

Francis graduated as a landscape architect in Belgium. He returned to Lebanon in 1993
"I believe gardens are where the soul rests"

With a focus on desert landscapes and collaborations with Zaha Hadid and OMA, the principal of Francis Landscapes has a deep belief in the power of nature

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, US
José Almiñana
"We are committed to designing evocative landscapes informed by the best environmental science"

The Andropogon principal on pushing the boundaries of landscape design for the benefit of humans and nature

features
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

Grigoriou’s interiors work focuses on boosting wellbeing and reducing stress
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

Houston’s Memorial Park is being restored following hurricane damage
Thomas Woltz
"I am very proud of stewarding the largest public space to be built in Manhattan in a century"

The Wall Street Journal’s Design Innovator of the Year on designing the gardens at Hudson Yards and looking to the Native Americans for ideas on how to create a resilient future

cladkit product news
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
cladkit product news
Siminetti unveils first glimpses of Mother of Pearl decorative surfaces inspired by the four seasons
The new winter design is finished with naturally occurring hexagonal patterns found in snowflakes
Megan Whitby
Siminetti has collaborated with British designer Chrisanna London to create a luxury Mother of Pearl decorative surface range inspired by ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
LianTronics’ glasses-free 3D Star Trek LED screen attracts attention
Magali Robathan
LianTronics’ giant curved LED wall with stunning glasses-less 3D spaceship display effect has attracted many on the street of Chengdu, ...
cladkit product news
Atelier Alain Ellouz launches handcrafted precious stone lighting collection
LYRA has a sleek, cylindrical design complete with an elegant brass dimming switch
Megan Whitby
LYRA, GAMA, MONA and ATHENA are the first pieces from designer Atelier Alain Ellouz’s new.édition collection of handcrafted stone lighting ...
Christie laser projectors power new Five Senses Bubble dome theatre
The dome aims to integrate technology with arts and culture
Magali Robathan
Christie® GS Series 1DLP® laser projectors are delivering vivid and lifelike visuals in a new dome theatre located in Xiong’an ...
ASPA International launches handheld UV-C light disinfection lamp
The compact plug-in product can be used easily in a commercial spa or domestic setting to disinfect surfaces with UV-C light
Megan Whitby
For over 30 years, ASPA International has designed and built high-quality spas for the hotel, health and wellness sectors. During ...
Gharieni GmbH
Gharieni GmbH