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Ergonomidesign


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(established 1969)

Founded in Stockholm in 1969, this Swedish consultancy has established an international reputation for the production of elegant, yet highly practical, designs for the disabled and, in 2003, employed 27 industrial designers, engineers, and ergonomists. Key members have been Maria Benktzon (b. 1946) and Sven‐Eric Juhlin (b. 1940) who joined Ergonomidesign in 1973 and 1976 respectively. pioneer in the field, they were committed to finding aesthetically pleasing and stylish design solutions that were able to bring the disabled into the mainstream of everyday consumption. In 1972 they had worked on a project on ergonomic handles and grips for the Swedish Institute for the Handicapped, geared towards those with impaired muscular strength. Building on this experience, rigorous research and consultation with medical experts underpinned many of their designs. Their 1974 Ideal kitchen knife, manufactured by the leading Finnish company Hackman for the Institute for the Handicapped, exemplifies this. Although designed for those with arthritic hands, its attractive design appeals to a far wider audience. Its aesthetic standing is acknowledged by its inclusion in the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and its social significance by the fact that it is still in production. Other notable designs that Ergonomidesign has worked on include Eat and Drink tableware (1978), aesthetically pleasing but designed for those with disabilities (also in the MOMA Permanent Collection and a recipient of the Excellent Swedish Design Prize) and the highly flexible and versatile Ambulance Stretcher (1983), designed for Hejde Ambulanser and used in all ambulances in Sweden (awarded the Excellent Swedish Design Prize in 1987). Practical design solutions also underpin the safe and easy‐to‐use Baby Carrier for BabyBjorn (Design of the Decade Award, 1999, and Focus Mobilitat Award, 2001) and the Injection Pen for Genotropin (1996), which was designed for children with hormone growth deficiency (Gute Industriform Germany Award, IDSA, and Good Design Japan Awards, all 1996). In 2002 Ergonomidesign founded a new company in Japan (Ergonomidesign Japan), the first Swedish industrial design consultancy located abroad, with Dag Kilogstedt as its managing director. In the same year the company was awarded a Gold Prize at the Japanese Good Design Award competition for its design of the Speedglass welding helmet and Adflo respirator, one of only two non‐Japanese of ten awards. It also received four Design Awards in the same competition, including products for Bahco Tools and a plate and spoon for BabyBjorn.

Subjects: Industrial and Commercial Art.


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