by Samta Nadeem, Almas SadiqueFeb 21, 2023
“We have created a product that people needn’t be ashamed to install in their homes.”
- Luke Pearson, Co-founder, Pearson Lloyd
Declared the winning agency in an international design competition held by British mobility specialists Access BDD, Pearson Lloyd’s design of Flow X reimagines the often neglected and stigmatised image of stairlifts. “We accepted the challenge to design the next generation stairlift as we saw that it was a product category that deserves the highest level of design thinking," says the studio co-founder Luke Pearson in a press statement. The project is a culmination of 10 years of dedicated research, design and refinement.
Flow X merges high-level compact and aesthetic design with user-centred functionality. Its mechanism includes a five-degree seat recline and a system capable of providing support in both standing and seating postures. The stairlift can be fitted onto any staircase and is designed to offer seamless movement and to blend effortlessly in homes for daily use by the elderly.
With reference to the product’s intent, Pearson Lloyd highlights an important concern: 'The population of adults aged 60 and over is growing rapidly, and it will soon exceed that of under-fives.' Flow X, they explain, is one of the first stairlift products designed specifically to meet the physical and emotional needs of the new generation of discerning, design aware, tech-literate seniors.
“Mobility solutions are unfairly overlooked by the design community, but with Flow X, we hope to destigmatise the sector with an empathetic and contemporary approach to ergonomics and user-interface design,”adds Pearson.
Among Flow X's most distinguished features is its patented ASL (Advanced Swivel Levelling) technology which allows the footrest and seat to rotate in tandem while preserving optimal distances from the chair and staircase. This aspect ensures that users can get on and off the chair without having to twist their bodies, thereby reducing the risk of injury. Automatic and manual folding mechanisms are equipped within the device to conserve space and permit users to park the stairlift without bending their back and knees. Overall comfort, aesthetics and user experience are kept at the forefront of the design.
Housing all user-operated controls, the stairlift’s slender arms rotate from an elevated yoke that extends from a central spine running along the intuitively curved backrest. The controls have been designed to be as simple and user-friendly as possible. Consciously placed on the arms to ensure visibility from all angles, the joystick, buttons, and indicator are all operated by the user's wrist. Additionally, a built-in call function allows three phone numbers to be programmed into the device, permitting users to contact family members in case of any emergency. Calls can even be answered while the stairlift is in motion.
In seizing the opportunity to develop a cutting-edge model for a product that was often unjustly ignored, Pearson Lloyd seeks to impart awareness to the design community about real-world solutions with genuine positive impact. Prioritising user interfaces, aesthetics and ergonomics, Flow X attempts to negate the stigma around stairlifts while enabling elderly users to retain their independence at home. "Here, we are designing for our future selves,” concludes Pearson.