Accessible hotel room concept balances form with function
On the basis that many hotel rooms for the disabled aren't that accessible, can be poorly fitted and have overly clinical designs, two firms have collaborated to create a new hotel room concept. AllGo is an approach aimed at creating accessible rooms that are functional, flexible and beautiful.
The approach, developed by bathroom design firm Motionspot and architecture studio Ryder, is based on a set of design principles for accessibility, and suggests small changes that can be made to the design and layout of rooms to improve their quality. It seeks to create rooms that are personalized to each end-user and that are adaptable, with features able to be changed based on the access requirements provided to a hotel prior to a guest arriving.
Among the features of AllGo are concealed, integrated handrails that can be used to provide support and to help people move around a room. Braille on the inside of the handrails is aimed at helping those with visual impairments navigate a room.
Floor finishes are chosen to be suitable for wheelchairs and rollators, and an attempt has been made to minimize the clutter in rooms, with large chairs and tables done away with where possible. Instead, wall panels drop down to become shelving and seating.
Retrofittable motorized track hoists are proposed for ceilings, so as to help individuals with limited mobility move around. The unobtrusive track can be left in place, but the motor can be removed and stored out of the way if the feature is not required.
Beds will also have built-in hoists to aid people getting in and out if necessary. In addition, the profile of the beds can be adjusted to provide more elevated or upright positioning and to help with circulation.
In the bathroom, there are grab rails and shower seats that can be easily removed without the need for tools if they are not required by a guest. Sinks are accessible to wheelchairs and mirrors are fully lit in such a way as to avoid shadows being cast on them, so as to aid those with visual impairments.
Finally, AllGo is aimed at creating rooms that are aesthetically beautiful and as pleasant to be in as any other room. It posits that accessibility need not mean that a hotel room look cold, stark and clinical and instead that accessibility features should be integrated elegantly so that guests feel as valued as any other.
Motionspot's founder and managing director Ed Warner tells New Atlas that the concept is still being defined, with hotels and users being consulted. He explains, though, that the intention is to roll out products that will help hotels to achieve the accessibility principles behind AllGo, and that it will be possible to fit in both new and older hotels.
Earlier this month, the AllGo concept won the Celia Thomas Prize, a competition run by the Royal Institute of British Architects in association with Bespoke Hotels for which participants must design an accessible hotel room of the future. Motionspot and Ryder are using the £20,000 (US$24,800) cash prize they were awarded to bring the concept to fruition and roll out a pilot within a year. Ultimately, they plan to deliver AllGo accessible hotel rooms around the world.
The video below provides a look at the AllGo concept.