Danmac Blog

Designing for Disability: Where Innovation, Agility and Empathy Meet

How brands like Danmac are pioneering the next evolution in multi-use and accessible design.

Designing for Disability: Where Innovation, Agility and Empathy Meet

Accessibility doesn’t limit design. In fact, it’s the lack of consideration for accessibility that restricts the full potential of the final product. Inclusive and thoughtful design sparks innovation, breaks down barriers – and improves lives.

With over 4 million Australians living with some form of disability and Australia’s aging population on the rise, it’s paramount for the architecture and design industry to create inclusive spaces, environments and products. Particularly when they pertain to the primary needs of the occupants or users.

The bathroom is one of the places that are crucial in providing for the basic human needs – and all too often, they are challenging to navigate for people with accessibility issues. The ability to maintain personal hygiene whilst on a wheelchair, mobility device or with the help of a carer should be paramount. That means elements like the sizing of shower doors or incorporation of any steps or sills that could make the access more difficult has to be thoughtfully considered. And while in the past, elements like shower screens would be factored in in the later stages of the bathroom design, now the whole space has to be planned holistically to be functional and easy to use.

Danmac, a glazing industry leader in the design and distribution of aluminium and hardware, recognises the vital need for empathic design – and addresses it one innovative product at a time.

Having just launched clamps for premium semi-frameless shower screens that are adapted for wheelchair usage, the General Manager of Danmac, Leigh Todd, spoke to us about the company’s focus on accessibility, their drive to innovate, and the ability to listen to their clients and specifiers to deliver better products.

Leigh explains how the idea to create the innovative clamps product came about, “We wanted to create a shower screen that could be used in a wheelchair to offer those with accessibility issues the same design choices that an able-bodied person could have.”

With limited semi-frameless shower designs for access-impaired and hybrid designs featuring aluminium around the perimeter only allowing for an insufficient door width of 750mm, Leigh knew that Danmac team had to push the envelope further. He goes to explain: “We wanted to take it to the next level. We knew that if we could manufacture a sill-less semi-frameless shower screen without fixing it to the floor, we would be ahead of the game. But we also wanted for the door size to be wheelchair accessible.”

Offering the best in class clamp system in the market, Danmac was already ahead of the rest of the world in considering some of the key usability design principles. Nevertheless, the clamp had to be made smaller to create the desired door width. Two years of tests resulted in an innovative pivot system that’s revolutionised the market by offering more choice and variety to people with limited accessibility.

The high-quality brass sill-less clamp pivot solution incorporates the pivot pin into the clamp itself, which significantly lessens the need for glass cutouts as only a single hole is needed top and bottom to stabilise the screen door.

Leigh adds: “If we can provide high-end design solutions for mobility devices and aids that is a great move. Having a large door with a width of up to 1000mm means that wheelchairs and carers can get into the shower with you. Plus, it also acts as a solution to tripping hazards.”

With their mission firmly anchored in accessible design, Danmac is perfectly set-up to continue leading the charge on innovative bathroom solutions. As a smaller and more agile company, Leigh and his team can easily socialise ideas and create a finished product in just a few months. “Danmac’s makeup makes us more agile, more innovative and more responsive,” describes Leigh and says: “We’re also really proactive and hands-on. We take feedback right from the customers and specifiers to ensure the product is where and what it needs to be.”