Ikea to Use 3-D Printing to Make Furniture More Accessible for Persons with Disabilities

Middle East, Universal Design, March 12 2019

ISRAEL: Ikea is the largest furniture manufacturer in the world. But its sleek designs, filled with handle-less drawers and low-profile furniture, aren’t necessarily friendly to the needs of people with disabilities.

Sofa with light on a yellow background

Image: ThisAbles

 Now Ikea Israel has teamed up with the nonprofits Milbat and Access Israel, each of which specializes in making the world more accessible, to develop a series of modifications to fix popular Ikea furniture pieces. Dubbed ThisAbles, the project’s objects are available online as free schematics, and can be 3D-printed and installed on Ikea mainstays like the Billy bookcase or Karlstad couch.

A total of 13 designs are available today. They include items like the EasyHandle, a big, Rubbermaid-looking grip that can be added to the seamless door of a Pax shelf, and the Glass Bumper, a plastic pad that protects the bottom of a glass-doored Billy bookcase from the bump of a wheelchair. Each object is illustrated in a charming campaign, featuring people with disabilities helping to advertise the simple genius of the designs, while quickly illustrating the method of installation.

In a perfect world, Ikea furniture would already work for everyone. But ThisAbles is proactively taking requests from the community for its next designs–avoiding the pitfall of some corporate approaches to inclusive design, which attempt to create a single design that works for every user.

As the initiative explains on its site, “We do not guarantee that we will be able to find a solution for every need, but we promise to try.”

Originally Posted on Fast Company.

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