Ikea Israel has launched the ThisAblesproject, this was established in collaboration with Milbat and Access Israel with the goal of developing and promoting well-designed, efficient and convenient design solutions for furniture and household utensils for people with disabilities. The venture brought together three organizations in order tofind and advance solutions that will offer anappropriate and dignified response to the household needs of quite a large population in Israel. Solutions include furniture that is customized to these needs, and thedevelopment of products that will help people with disabilities to use furniture and household utensils that have till now not been accessible to them.
At the first stage, Ikea’s leading and most functional products for the home were selected. Milbat, an organization dedicated to helping improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, developed a line of 13 smart, convenient and easy-to-connect add-ons that make products more accessible and usable for people with special needs.
These include a surface used to enlarge the size of the On/Off switch of a table lamp, a wide handle for moving a bath curtain, a device for laying a walking stick on the side of a bed, special handles for closets and drawers, a device that makes the zipper handle larger, aids for organizing and marking for the visually impaired, legs to elevate a sofa so that it is easier to sit down and get up, and more.
The second part of the project included a review and inspection conducted by Access Israel organization, which, together with Ikea, identified over 130 pieces of furniture and household items sold in Ikea stores that are accessible and suitable for use by people with various types of disabilities.
Shuki Koblenz, CEO of Ikea Israel: “There is a substantial segment of the population that has special needs yet cannot use and enjoy a variety of products, furniture and household items that we and our retail partners offer to the general public. Ikea’s motto is to create better everyday lives for as many people as possible, and we feel it is our duty to create ThisAbles so as to enable people with special needs to enjoy the benefits of a wide selection of products, furniture and household items and to be “equal among equals”. Throughout all stages of the process –thinking, planning, designing and development of these unique products – we realized that there are many people who come to our stores and cannot find any solution to their needs, causing them to feel frustrated and unequal.”
Koblenz added: “Together with Access Israel, that examined and approved the various products, as of today Ikea will attach a special label to each item, indicating its suitability and advantages for people with a variety ofspecial needs. The products that are on offer and sold in the various Ikea departments include: chairs, tables, beds, kitchen accessories, living room furniture, office furniture and bathroom accessories.”
Yuval Wagner, President and Founder of Access Israel: “Access Israel is leading the accessibility revolution in Israel, and works so that people with disabilities will live in in as normal, accessible, comfortable and egalitarian a manner as possible, despite the difficulties and limitations resulting from their disability. ThisAbles is an accessibility project focusing on improving the quality of life and access in both home and work spaces – the spaces where we spend most of our lives. This is an original and innovative project, the first of its kind in the world, which can only be advanced through collaborations between leaders –Ikea, Access Israel and Milbat. I am convinced that this initiative will improve the quality of life in practice of people with disabilities in Israel and around the world.”
The line of smart add-ons will be on display in all 4Ikea stores, in the relevant departments, and attached to each product will a label with explanations of its functionality, how it can be used and for which product it is suitable. Theseadd-ons can only be purchased through the Milbat website. Printed on every label for each smart add-on is a barcode for self-scanning and printing using a 3D printer.
You can see the entire line of add-ons, accessible Ikea products and training videos for use on the project website: www.ThisAbles.com. The site is fully accessible, in Hebrew and English, and has a special area designated for sharing and suggesting additional ideas for development, addressing problems that require a solution for the population of people with special needs.
13 add-on products we developed that can easily and simply be attached to Ikea furniture and thus make it functional for people with special needs:
Legs that elevate a couch, making it easier for people to sit down and get up.
A special handle for cupboards and drawers for people with motor skill or visual impairments.
CANE BY ME
A pack used to place the walking stick next to the bed.
An oversized switch that allows a lamp to be turned on and off easily.
SPOT ON SHELF
Clear marking of the boundaries of the compartment cells for people with visual impairment.
A device to which a label can be attached for a scanning pen, that reads aloud the contents of the compartment for people with visual impairment.
A ring that is attached to a zipper handle and facilitates the grip and usage.
A panel that protects glass doors for people on wheelchairs.
A handle that allows easy opening of doors for people with restricted wrist movement.
3 grips that are attached to a mirror for viewing the contents of high cabinets from a low point of view.
A rigid handle that makes it easier to move a bathroom curtain.
A device that enables holding of a paintbrush, pens and markers for people who have difficulty controlling their fingers.
A device allowing people with restricted movement to keep a drinking cup close at hand.