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Lotte armchair by Sarah Hossli helps elderly users stand up safely

Designer Sarah Hossli worked closely with residents in Swiss care homes to design this wooden armchair, which helps people with age-related impairments stand up and sit down unassisted.

Hossli, who is originally from Basel and is now based in Lucerne, designed the Lotte chair as part of her graduation project from L’école cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) in 2020.

Elderly woman sitting in Lotte armchair
Lotte is a chair for people with age-related impairments

The chair features extended armrests that wrap around the backrest and serve as a handrail to help users lift themselves in and out of a seated position.

It is one of five projects shortlisted in the seating design category at the Dezeen Awards 2022.

Elderly woman standing up from wooden chair
It is designed to help elderly people stand up unassisted

Hossli developed the product after spending time observing the behaviours of residents in care homes and assisted-living accommodations as part of a previous project.

She noticed that many elderly residents had difficulty standing up and sitting down on their own and set out to find a solution that would give these people a greater degree of independence.

Handrail detail on Lotte armchair by Sarah Hossli
Its armrests wrap around the backrest to form a handrail

“With this armchair, the residents are able to get up more easily and safely because of everyday practice, which then leads to them being more independent and having a better quality of everyday life,” said Hossli.

The chair’s armrests are ergonomically designed to provide leverage as users raise themselves to a standing position. The curved section of the handrail provides additional support when manoeuvring around the chair.

Wooden seat with armrest that wraps around it
The designer consulted Girsberger for its construction

Hossli carried out detailed research inside care homes, testing prototypes with residents to refine Lotte’s form and functionality. Many of the people she spoke to experience balance issues or joint pain that makes standing up unaided difficult.

She found that it is important for the user’s centre of gravity to remain above their feet. This means it is necessary to lean forward with the upper body as much as possible so the weight is on the feet before standing unsupported.

“In my development processes, I always involve real users in order to understand how they perceive my ideas and designs and also to be able to include in the process their specific needs, abilities and wishes,” the designer pointed out.

Hossli also sought input from medical and care experts, and consulted with Swiss furniture manufacturer Girsberger on the best way to build the chair.

Back view of Lotte armchair by Sarah Hossli
The product is designed around the principles of a circular economy

Lotte was designed around the principles of a circular economy, meaning its components can be easily separated and repaired if required or recycled at the end of its life.

Alongside Lotte, projects shortlisted in the seating design category at the Dezeen Awards 2022 include a recycled chair that can be sold back to the manufacturer after being used and bold sculptural pouffes by Sabine Marcelis for Hem.

The photography is by Severin Stark.

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