Stephen Maley explains the philosophy behind Hewi's accessible design...
BR: Describe the philosophy of Hewi
SM: Decades of experience has enabled us to become experts in accessible design offering uncompromising, integrated, well thought through solutions using top quality materials and processes. The design requirements for areas where accessibility is key, for example, hospitals, hotels, care homes, and workplaces can be extremely demanding. The design and fitout of accessible sanitary rooms in public buildings or private, multi-generational bathrooms is equally challenging. As a market leader for accessible design, we know how complex the standards are and approach each project with the aim of providing beautiful, compliant and de-stigmatised accessible spaces.
BR: How does the Uk compare with other coutries, do you think we are ahead or behind in providing solutions for this market?
SM: Hewi is fortunate enough to work in over 70 countries around the world which gives us a pretty good feel for the global approach to accessible design. The UK is very design conscious and as a result our UK clients and specifiers are very discerning in the way the accessible space is considered. The UK also has world leading regulatory demands from DOC M to British Standards, many of which are replicated around the world and sets the UK above most countries in this crucial sector.
BR: What is the Hewi definition of good accessible bathroom design?
SM: To have designed a bathroom with multi-use, flexible products which not only look great, but are functional too and offer the discreet levels of additional support as and when required. For example, our removable shower seats and support rails deliver tailored support.
BR: How has Hewi maintained design integrity whilst creating products for the healthcare industry?
SM: It’s in our DNA!. We have been specialising in this demanding sector for generations, so we know the products must be robust, durable and easy to maintain. We spend considerable time on material selection, market research and product testing to ensure that improved designs are up to the task of the tough demands required.
BR: Do you think bathroom product design for accessible products in general is still behind the times?
SM: There are many superb examples of well designed accessibility products around the world – so no I don’t necessarily think that area is too far behind the times. What is lacking is the general approach to accessible space design, as it can often be an afterthought or in some cases not even considered at all!
BR: How well received are Hewi's products in your intended market?
SM: It always gives us great pleasure when we receive feedback from clients form all sectors from Care to Hospitality, who tell us how delighted they are with their new “accessible bathrooms” which don’t resemble a 1970s care home. Our hotel clients around the world report a reduction in guest complaints about being given the “disabled room” – and the fact that each HEWI system can be fitted /removed in seconds to tailor the bathroom to the needs of the user, means we have many satisfied clients, and users whether disabled or not.
BR: What inspired Hewi to create the System 900 range?
SM: The HEWI Product Innovation Team used the UK demands for Doc M & British Standard compliance as a key factor in developing the longer/deeper shower seats and appropriate support rails within a brand new range together with matching accessories.
BR: Who is your target audience for this range, healthcare, homeowners or both?
SM: Our target audience will always be the end users who want to use the accessible bathroom safely, comfortably and not feel stigmatised. This means that this addition to our portfolio will go across all sectors from Homeowners to Hospitals and workplace/public buildings to Hotels.
BR: What do you feel were the design challenges you needed to over-come to create a product that would be well-received & functional?
SM: In all the studies & consultations we had with industry experts, one of the most repeated demands we received was that the shower seat for example, must be the right size, but it must look amazing. This meant we focused on the sheer strength of the seat and bracket material to ensure they were up for the job. And after the thousands of drop weight tests conducted we are able to confidently produce a beautifully designed & compliant shower seat.
BR: What are the key USP’s for this product?
SM: The HEWI S900 range continues with the HEWI legacy of quality and aspirational design across the entire portfolio which comply with UK’s Doc M, & British Standards and USA’s ADA
BR: What do you feel this product offers over and above those offered by the competition?
SM: Contemporary compliance. Within a huge range of solutions from the market leading designed accessibility experts
To find out more about the S900 Range - click the link.
To see Hewi's latest hotel video click the link
The HEWI S900 range.