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Inclusive design unlocks creativity

Tarkett launches practical design guide with neurodiversity focus

There is growing recognition that we all perceive the world differently and that to thrive, we need to create spaces that meet everyone’s needs. However, the concept of inclusive design often conjures up a notion of compromise that curbs creativity and leads to uninspiring solutions.

A new guide from Tarkett ‘Human Conscious Design Principles’ is tackling this misconception and argues that designing with specific needs in mind can, in fact, unlock creativity. That, by interrogating the different ways in which we experience and interpret our surroundings, designers are encouraged to explore new ideas and solutions that they may not otherwise have considered.

In this guide, the global leader in recyclable flooring, explores the world through the lens of neurodiversity with the particular needs of individuals with an ADHD, autism and dementia diagnosis in mind.

It is estimated that one in seven people are neurodivergent and that a staggering 50 million¹ people are living with dementia worldwide, a figure that is expected to triple by 2050².

Shaz Hawkins, Segment Marketing Manager UK&IE, comments, “Inclusive design sits at the heart of what we do. As one of the leading manufacturers of floor and wall surfaces, it’s our job to ensure that the products we develop are not just technically fit for purpose, but support the well-being of the individuals utilising the space, whether that be a school, a hospital, an office, a hotel or a home. This new practical guide gives a voice to individuals with lived-experiences across ADHD, autism and dementia, and highlights some of the challenges they face day-to-day. We hope that it will help designers and end users learn, explore and incorporate new ideas to create more interesting, inspiring and supportive environments for everyone.”

With an overview of each condition, Human Conscious Design Principles outlines key design considerations across education, the workplace, hospitality and eldercare.

It offers great insight into how an individual’s senses can impact their health and wellbeing if an environment isn’t calibrated correctly for them. How certain smells, sounds, colours, patterns, textures and lighting can cause discomfort for anyone, but even more so when dementia or sensory issues are part of their make-up.

We can experience both hypersensitivity (over-responsiveness) and hyposensitivity (under-responsiveness) to a wide range of stimuli within an environment, this ‘how to’ guide provides specific advice on how to navigate design and support individuals. It also recognises that we are each different, with varying wants and needs, that are constantly evolving as we go through life.

You can download your copy of the Human Conscious Design Principles here:

¹ World Health Organisation, 23rd March 2023

² The Global Burden of Disease study published in the Lancet Medical Journal 6th of January 2022