The New Royal Carriage

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall ( formerly Parker Bowles) used a mobility scooter, because of a broken leg, as she presented Afghanistan campaign medals to soldiers of the 4th Battalion The Rifles at Bulford Camp on May 5, 2010 in Salisbury, England.

What is the impact of a celebrity highlighting aging, frailty, and in this case the temporary use of mobility assistance? Who can identity the make and model of the new royal carriage?

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.

The busiest day of the year was January 6th with 104 views. The most popular post that day was THE GREEN HOUSE® Design Charrette.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for Mcdonalds Happy Meal, Ideo method cards, ambient intelligence, Ron Arad product design, and bathroom concepts.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


THE GREEN HOUSE® Design Charrette January 2009
1 comment


McDonald’s Happy Meal of the Future November 2008
2 Likes on


Bathroom Innovation October 2008


Not Your Father’s Grab Bar. January 2009

Everything Designed with Everyone in Mind

Every wonder how great it would be if everything was designed with everyone in mind? Samsung did. They introduced the Samsung 4-door refrigerator. The fridge has a counter height drawer that puts things easily within reach.

What is important to notice is the absence of someone representing a later lifestage. In fact, the lack of an older demographic in the commercial probably helps Samsung reach out to people who might have been scared away with the special design that could accommodate a special need.

What would happen if you stopped marketing your later lifestage product or service directly to that demographic and removed them from the marketing conversation completely? What new ways would you create to excite and engage people?

Lifestage Focused Award Winning Window and Door Products

It is becoming increasingly important to create living environments that allow people to live in their own homes of choice for as long as comfortably possible.

Builders and housing developers can help extend livability in a home by incorporating design solutions that maintain quality of life and independence as people age. Milgard is a window and patio door manufacturer that develops universally accessible products with a user-centric design process.

An example is Milgard’s patented SmartTouch™ lock, an innovation that made Milgard the first window manufacturer to receive the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation, and  the only window manufacturer to receive a 2008 Bronze IDEA award for design.

Milgard also makes two vinyl patio door lines that come standard with the patent-pending SmartTouch™ door handle. The handle is recognized for one-touch ease of use, and is also a recipient of the Arthritis Foundation Ease-of-Use Commendation.

Be sure to download the Milgard white paper on “baby boomer behaviors toward livability and home ownership.”

Other companies and manufacturers need to join the efforts of Milgard to design products and solutions that support people to live in their homes longer, more safely, comfortably and enjoyably.

Video Tryptych: GoodDesignAgeWell Summarized

A triptych is a work of art divided into three sections. The central panel is typically the most important one, and is usually flanked on either side by two lesser but related pieces. The order of these three video segments deviates from the standard triptych form because all three segments are equal in importance. This video triptych was made with which allows three Youtube videos to be watched simultaneously.

Some may think multiple videos is distracting, but the hope is the longer you watch the triptych the more you will become immersed in the multiple video messages centered around a common theme. The multiple videos lets one abstract to higher levels of thinking about the topic, which is a whole new element that wouldn’t happen if the videos were viewed individually or even sequentially. The whole is intended to be greater than the sum of its parts.

1: Microsoft Vision of Healthcare.  2. Dove Commercial.  3. Playing the Wii

(Clicking the image will open a new browser window at Be sure to have your sound on. It is a continuous loop. Complete one cycle of the soundtrack for a complete experience.)

Good Design Needs a Good Soundtrack

“All of these lines across my face

Tell you the story of who I am

So many stories of where I’ve been

And how I got to where I am”

Good design, no matter what kind of artist you are, (I use Seth Godin’s definition of artist) can find inspiration in music.  Brandi Carlile’s song, The Story, is my recommendation for a dose of inspiration because it honors the passage of time

What musician or song inspires you? What is the story of your wrinkles?

Walker Balls – Can’t We Do Better?

Have you seen the Walker Balls accessory for mobility walkers? This Patriotic themed pair are available at for $4.95 a pair. They are advertised as an inexpensive alternative to the standard rubber tips on the rear legs of walkers.

Rubber tips don’t glide well on most surfaces.  They are great for stability while standing still, but their stickiness requires the user to slightly raise the rear legs of the walker to take a step forward. This maneuver requires balance and upper body strength, which can be difficult for some who needs to use a walker in the first place. As the durable medical equipment suppliers keep producing and selling walkers with rubber tips an adjacent industry grows, the Walker Ball industry.

The question arises, why don’t the “metal bender” (not my label but their own) durable equipment manufacturers understand how their walkers are modified by consumers and incorporate the needed hacks into the original design? The need to customize everyday objects in order to make it useful is disgraceful design. Customizable objects to reflect your personal style are welcomed.

Here again is a problem for design-thinkers to solve. The challenge continues and it welcomes your talents.

Courtyard by Marriot Redesigned Around Customer

Mark Hurst of Good Experience interviewed Brian King, VP & global brand manager of Courtyard by Marriott to understand the process and goals of the redesign of the hotel lobby around their target customer segment, the frequent business traveler. This project is a recommended case study and a call to action for senior living communities and facilities to listen to current and prospective residents in order to meet their evolving physical and emotional needs. The full interview is a must read and can be found here.

It was interesting to learn “…the laptop is the center of the business traveler’s life and should be the center of the design innovation.”  What is at the center of your customer’s life?  Is it an object or a lifestyle; a variety of social events, opportunities to be active, a mix of private and public space, or a support network of heathcare options? Find what is most important to your target market and use that as the guide for ongoing innovation. Some of the other key learning points of the redesign of Courtyard hotels that could be applied to senior living communities are:

  • Flexible, movable furniture to customize how the public space is used from a communal table to private quiet areas.
  • A physical environment and service options that is under each persons control and offers a high level of choice; a variety of food options and highly flexible meal time schedule.
  • A lobby that is a destination as opposed to being a mediocre pass through to secluded rooms.
Dedicated technology stations. Modular furniture for a flexible public space. Modernized bulletin board for pertinent information.
Additional information can be found at IDEO, the innovation firm that was part of the redesign. Images from

If you won’t be traveling to one of the refreshed Courtyard properties any time soon get a feel of the new environment with this commercial.

There are many  examples of well designed lifestage communities and facilities across the continuum of care but they are far outnumbered by the quantity of poorly designed facilities that are not prepared to meet the lifestyle needs of a new generation of adults seeking innovative housing and care options.

If you really listen to your current and prospective residents what small and large scale innovations can you implement that will transform their experience?

arcCA Design for Aging Journal Released

The journal of the American Institute of Architects California Council, (arcCA), released the DESIGN FOR AGING issue.  The PDF is not yet posted online but you may order print copies of the magazine by contacting Lori Reed, AIACC’s Director of Communications, at lreed or by calling her at 916-448-9082.

arcCA Cover

When Tim Culvahouse, FAIA, arcCA editor and Andrew Sharlach, Associate Dean and Professor of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley presented the issue at the monthly San Francisco meeting of the AIA Design for Aging knowledge group I knew I wanted to pass the information on to others who might be interested in a beautifully designed journal with over ten articles by leading experts in the field with interesting perspectives on aging and the built environment. Enjoy. While you’re checking out the Journal, also visit the AIA DFA site; I think you will be excited by what it does.

arcCA mtg

The New Urban Village: A Design for Intergenerational Living

Any chance to mingle and collaborate with innovative design-thinkers is a valuable and enjoyable moment.  If you are in the Oakland, California area on August 26, 2009 a lecture and reception presented by the Regional Northern California Design for Aging (DFA) Committee is highly recommended.

Taube-Koret Campus

The lecture topic is the Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life in Palo Alto, California; a vibrant community that closes generational gaps, allowing family members of all ages to interact and thrive. This affordable community offers various housing types all within walking distance of  shops, gyms and learning centers, building a strong sense of community. The architect, developer and executive director from this project discuss their experiences bringing this community to life. The program will be followed by a wine and cheese reception.

Featured Speakers:
Rob Steinberg, FAIA – President of Steinberg Architects
Lydia Tam – Interim President and CEO of Bridge Housing
Shelley Hébert – Previous Executive Director of Taube-Koret Campus for Jewish Life

Sponsored by Forell/Elsesser Engineers, Inc.

Wednesday August 26, 2009
Time: 5:30pm—7:30pm including reception
Location: AIA East Bay, 1405 Clay Street, Oakland
Cost:  $10 for DFA/AIA Members & guests; $15 for non-members
Registration Required. Click here to register or go to

CALL 510/464-3600 or EMAIL events