A design student from Birmingham University has been working with the staff and residents at Spencer Grove Care Home in Belper to create an amazing design project focussed on design and dementia.
Ellie Stanton, textiles, print and surface design student has been selected to display her work, alongside 16 other students at London’s New Designers Exhibition. Every item created and printed for the project and exhibition was done so with the input of the Spencer Grove residents.
Ellie’s project ‘Forget me Not’ looks at how to create balance through design for care home residents with and without dementia. Forget Me Not is all about designing for care homes and dementia, creating positive and aesthetically pleasing environments for residents with diverse needs.
“The whole experience was really interesting, and I thoroughly enjoyed every element of this project.” commented Ellie, “It was really fun to work for a ‘client’ and get feedback from the residents during this whole process.”
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Created through a collaborative consultation process with care home residents at Spencer Grove, the collection offers designs that are uplifting and stimulating for some, as well as designs that are reassuringly traditional and not over-stimulating for others.
Ellie added, “The residents were extremely helpful and insightful, and it was really interesting to find out about their wants and needs as well as their personal design taste!”
Looking at colour, pattern and texture as well as proportions, distance and tones, Ellie created a range of fabrics for care homes based on her findings at Spencer Grove.
Her final exhibition includes a stunning range of fabrics that are traditional with modern influences such as varied textures, softer flowers, digitally printed wallpapers, cushion covers and a chair re-upholstered in dementia-friendly embossed fabrics. These were all created using the residents chosen colours, tones and suggestions.
Ellie first got involved with Spencer Grove after getting in touch with Amanda Falleth, interior co-ordinator for Milford Care. Throughout her project, Ellie created sketchbooks and design books to show the residents, who were integral in selecting every detail.
“This has been a fantastic experience for all involved and we are thrilled with the results!” said Amanda Falleth, “The residents have really enjoyed being a part of this work and seeing their ideas come to life.
“Having the residents as the focal point for Ellie’s work has not only produced fantastic results but it has given the residents the feeling of independence and choice which is always so important for us to keep.”
“We are so happy for Ellie that her hard work has got the recognition it deserves, and we wish her all the best for the final exhibition in London.”
Ellie’s research had some interesting results. There was an overall agreement between residents that they all preferred traditional prints and nothing too modern. Vintage prints and old-fashioned florals were some of the favourite choices.
Through the research conducted for her project, Ellie found that the use of colour can be a delicate balance to strike right. Clever use of colour is important to highlight chair edges. Through Ellie’s own research at Spencer Grove, she found that residents wanted and enjoyed colour – especially bright vibrant choices, because of the happy and uplifting mood created.