Sleek, modern, and streamlined—those mainstays of contemporary industrial design—aren’t words often used to describe grab bars and shower seats. “No effort goes into giving these objects a friendlier aesthetic in keeping with the image of a domestic object,” industrial designer Mario Ruiz says. “In terms of design, the world of disabled people is a little forgotten.” To counter such neglect Ruiz has devised Solid, a bath-safety system that is exquisitely stylish and ingeniously multifunctional.
“Besides fulfilling functional requirements, we strove to make something that fluidly integrates into the home and gets completely away from the orthopedic,” Ruiz says. In doing so he has achieved the noble goal of truly good universal design: an attractive product that serves mobility-impaired and able-bodied users alike. Here Ruiz explains the finer points of his system, available through Spanish manufacturer Estoli (www.estoli.com) in light gray and taupe.
Estoli chose the name Solid because, although the lines are slim and delicate, the system is very strong.
I do not believe in spontaneous inspiration. I design and draw constantly, and that is what facilitates the birth of ideas. Solid, like my other work, emerged in this way.
The user can screw on additional pieces to create multiple seating options. Building on the stool, a chair is formed by attaching the backrest, and variations can be assembled by adding one or two arms. The seat and attachments—scaled to smaller European bathrooms—are made of anodized aluminum (to prevent corrosion) and polypropylene.