Design Matters at Naidex National Show House

Large kitchen in white and wood effect designed for wheelchair users and installed at Naidex 2012 show home. Rise and fall sink area to left of image. Induction hob with black glass extractor hood over and integrated ovens in midi height units to right of image.

The team’s back from a great show at the NEC . Naidex National is the premier disability, rehabilitation and homecare event in the UK with over 300 exhibitors and thousands of visitors. This year it took place over three days at the prestigious Birmingham exhibition centre and we installed a fully featured kitchen in the Independent Living Show Home at the heart of the event.

This was a great opportunity to show how far accessible kitchens have come in recent years, and to exhibit a kitchen that might be fitted in a typical family home where both wheelchair users and ambulant family and friends could access the space. In the Naidex design, some worksurfaces are at fixed standard height, and others are height adjustable so that everyone has a comfortable place to prepare meals and drinks.  All the important kitchen elements are fully accessible and importantly, a little safer. One day all kitchens could contain these features. Imagine how much landfill could be eliminated if all kitchens could be used by the whole family, for life!

Only ten years ago kitchen designers were struggling to break away from cold, clinical colour schemes.  Now our designers have a full range of colours and wood finishes to choose from, and we’re not confined to delicate mfc (melamine faced chipboard). We can specify durable laminate doors on our kitchens (the same tough material commonly used for worktops) which will take knocks and scuffs from wheelchair footplates and walking frames in their stride. Kitchen cabinets can also be made to any dimension, which means they can be tailored to each client’s precise requirements, and still offer built-in flexibility. In the Naidex design above, we have specified midi-height storage units around the ovens, so that every cupboard can be accessed from a wheelchair or perching stool, and this height can be tailored to the reach of an individual client.

We specify a carefully curated range of appliances with extra safety features, including an oven with a door that slides into a recess beneath the oven cavity called the Neff SlideAway. In this kitchen we are also demonstrating an L-shaped rise and fall worktop, which accommodates both sink and induction hob. We are increasingly using this solution as it makes the essential elements of the kitchen accessible to every kitchen user and requires a single rise and fall hydraulic mechanism. We specify Ropox hydraulics which are durable and reliable.  The rise and fall worktop is made to our own carefully developed design from a water resistant material called Corian. The sink area is equipped with front-mounted taps, and a convenient instant hot water tap – the modern, safer equivalent of the kettle. The designer extractor hood can be operated by remote control for ease and safety.

The Design Matters team chatted with hundreds of  visitors during Naidex National. Next we’re looking forward to Naidex South in October, where this kitchen will be making a second appearance! If you’d like to keep in touch with us, you can ‘like’ our Facebook page which will ensure you get all our news on accessible kitchens, or follow us on Twitter – @designmatters3.

For more pictures and details of recent projects, visit the Portfolio pages of our web site. If you would like to discuss your own kitchen project, please contact us by email using this link or call us on the office number: 01628 531584 and make an appointment to see our fully accessible showroom. and meet Adam Thomas our award winning designer.