Long Life Project

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Maria (53 years old) suffers from a rare, incurable disease which results in progressive muscular degeneration and a loss of mobility. So far, she has been winning her daily battles against the disease – mainly because of her optimism but above all because of her family, who respond to every deterioration of her condition by both changing her daily routines and adapting the environment in which they all live together. Maria's children accompany her to work during the winter, to be sure that everything is OK. Maria's manually-skilled husband arranges the interiors of their home so she can continue to lead the life which she has become used to. There is no other option so far, because the available medical technologies do not meet the family’s aesthetic requirements. According to Maria, the medical devices remind her too much of the "hospital" and of "old age". She would rather surround herself with things which are “practical and look modern”.
In an ideal world, in which the ideas of humanistic designs would be transformed into life in their integrity, Maria would go to the nearest furniture store and buy herself a sofa which matches her aesthetic ideas and at the same time make it easier for her to move around her home. Unfortunately, such a vision doesn’t yet exist, even though a unique design feat appears here and there, targeting people with musculoskeletal disorders or the elderly. There is still a lack of social discussion and related implementation of products for these specific demographics. However, the LongLife student’s project modestly opens this discussion and can therefore be seen as one of the promises for possible future changes.
The group of users whom LongLife products are intended for is quite wide. Among them, we can find the elderly and people with reduced mobility, menopausal women or patients who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Hmatky is a set of tactile tools by student Adriana Lišková dedicated to the treatment of this incurable degenerative brain disease. Alzheimer web by Markéta Babková provides basic information on Alzheimer's disease using sophisticated architecture and a visually-friendly style.

A significant part of LongLife consists of products which are aimed at improving the quality of life for people with mobility disorders or for elderly people. Among them we can find a Walking Stick with LED lighting by Richard Štětka, the ARTRO chair by Ondřej Bukovec which reduces the physical effort of its users or a varied collection of medical aids for elderly people by Simona Hanesová called 4Eva Young.
The NutriBox set by Markéta Opravilová, designed to modify the eating habits of menopausal women, stands out in terms of its content from the LongLife series. But its “marginality” is only apparent. Upon closer inspection, this product also opens up a social discussion on a taboo topic.

Martina Zuzaňáková

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