Beauty heals

By Ingrid Fetell Lee

Omhu is a Danish company with a mission to support people’s changing needs throughout life with design. The name means “with great care” in Danish, and that’s evident in the selections, from elegant hot water bottles to eyeglass cases to their signature walking sticks – everything is selected to make life with impairments a little more beautiful. They write:

We started Omhu after searching in vain for well-designed products for relatives and friends who needed help with simple tasks such as walking, bathing, or reaching overhead… Omhu celebrates good design because it’s life-enhancing, and it’s fun. By creating more exciting choices of things that help, we hope we can also help change the way people feel about aging and ability. Because everyone’s getting older – even you!

They also say that “beauty heals,” which I think is an important idea. When you think about being diagnosed with a long-term illness, it’s rarely the aesthetics you think about. But suddenly being dependent on cold metal walkers, hospital beds, and other disability aids usually has a dampening effect on the mood, and I think we could improve quality of live significantly with more thoughtful consideration of the emotions in design. Imagine how unenthusiastic people would be about wearing eyeglasses if they were styled like the prosthetics they are, rather than fashion accessories. Color, texture, and form can quietly console us about our condition, as well as inspire us to take better care of ourselves.

The walking sticks, which I first wrote about in a column for Core77, are now on sale for $112 (regularly $149) at Fab, a new online flash sale site for design. The sale ends in two days, so if this is something you’re considering, don’t wait!

September 22nd, 2011

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