Organizer: London Design Museum
Curators: Helen Hamlyn, Jeremy Myerson
Authors of presented projects: Yves Béhar/fuseproject, Konstantin Grcic, Future Facility, Special Projects, IDEO and Priestman Goode
Where: Art_Inkubator, Tymienieckiego Str. 3, B1 (first floor, room B)
The exhibition focuses on the potential role of design and designers, working with enterprises and public institutions to transform the experience of ageing.
Against the backdrop of radical demographic change, a context in which growing numbers of older people in society will depend on and desire innovations in design, the exhibition brings together a range of new approaches to the issues that face them. We are living through the most profound shift in the age balance of human populations since the transformation of infant mortality in Victorian times. We are living longer due to significant advances in life science, medical care, diet and education. Our extended life expectancy is associated with a general shift in attitudes to ageing.
The traditional medical model of ageing – associated with dependency, disease, decrepitude and death – is being replaced by a social model of ageing in which the ‘third age’ is a productive and connected time, and even by a cultural model of ageing in which there is something uniquely compelling and exceptional about older age. All of this has profound implications for designers, who are moving from small-run design for a special needs group to working in the mainstream for an unprecedented demographic change. According to the Stanford Longevity Center, life expectancy worldwide is predicted to rise from 67 in 2008 to 75 in 2050. There will be twice as many over 60s, reaching 22 per cent of the world’s population by 2050. In the UK, we already have more pensioners than teenagers.
The New Old will experience ageing unlike any of their predecessors. They are better educated; more open to experimenting with technological possibilities and will experience a longer and more active old age. Nevertheless the familiar challenges of ageing – the need to keep people fit, active and living independently in their own homes, rather than in institutional care – do not go away. But there is a vastly increased potential to address them for the New Old at every level, from architecture to technology, from digital applications to redesigning domestic appliances.
This is the aspect that the exhibition addresses in a timely and relevant way. It sets out the changing demographic picture in which design sits, and showcases specially commissioned prototype projects by leading designers related to such areas as living, health, communication and mobility. It focuses on one of the most important political and social challenges of our times with an optimistic look at the way that design can transform the way we will live in the future.
A touring exhibition from the Design Museum, London, in partnership with the Helen Hamlyn Trust.