Jordanian designer Sahar Madanat created a One Handed Tableware Set that enables people with disabilities to “feel more confident to eat by themselves”, which was awarded first prize for the Audi Innovation Award.
The winners were announced yesterday at Design Days Dubai, with the two runner ups Mansour Attia and Nick Karinzadis proposing a ‘Metro-bike fly-over’ concept and a Gaudi-style responsive bath system.
Standing out from 100 design proposals, the tableware set address a simple human need and responds directly to this year’s theme,‘Alternative’, with a brief to create concepts that integrate existing solutions into new ones, ranging from lifestyle, healthcare, mobility, education, urban and public spaces.
The winning multi-function tableware set enables one handed users to cut food and navigate between courses while concealing their limitations. It caters not only to physical needs but also to the users’ emotions and sense of confidence. It can also be used by mothers feeding their children and others who are temporarily impaired.
“When people think innovation they usually tend to think of something high tech, but I’m really like to challenge the idea of what innovation truly is and I wanted to push boundaries and show design that in its simple form has be innovative,” Madanat told designMENA.
She added that innovation is really about how an idea can affect people’s lives and that element was the main driver for her design.
“I wanted it to be impactful,” she said.
“In 2014 we worked on a project for a client who wanted to create a full tableware set for people in elderly homes and that project covered all of the disabilities such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. We visited homes and met with a lot of seniors and most of the times we weren’t allowed to visit them during meal times because it was a humiliating experience for them. That resonated with us and we really wanted to do something to help empower them,” she explained.
The design itself is straight-forward and minimal which is what Madanat hoped to achieve: “We wanted to create something that looks simple and intuitive and blends in naturally with other plates and tableware,” she said.
The tableware set is designed with a non-slip base which doesn’t cause any movement if a knife or fork pushes against it, an important feature for someone who isn’t able to use their second hand to stabalise their plate.
“What we did was create a cutting edge in the middle of the plate, all made from ceramic. It is designed to look elegant but the important thing about is that what you can eat the way you used to eat so you’re no longer pre-cutting your food or being fed. If you were to put a steak or a piece of chicken against that wedge, you can then cut through the openings. We wanted to bring back a feeling of independence and joy to food,” she explained.
The rim of the plate serves as an edge to scoop the food and prevents it from falling off the plate. The border of the plate is also slightly slanted to catch any food that falls off without making a mess around the plate.
“We paid attentions to all these small details that would help people feel more confident to eat by themselves,” Madanat said.
A small bowl is also created to attach onto the plate, locking into the compartment with a high edge to make it easy to scoop.
Madanat explains that from the start of the project, the aim was to make this product as accessible as possible and offer it at an affordable price.
“This is why we chose to work with such a simple inexpensive material that is widely used,” she said.
She hopes to work with manufacturers to produce the design and make it available worldwide.
Madanat received a trophy as well as a trip to the Audi factory is Inglostadt, Germany. Additionally, Audi Middle East awarded her with $25,000 to over IP registration, legal counselling and business development.
The competition seeks to empower regional designers while archiving intellectual progress in the region.