One artist who has spent much of her career beautifying crutches (pictured above is her cane as a piece of furniture), neck and back braces, and other items associated with physical rehabilitation and disability has launched a new product with even loftier goals: LightMate (pictured below). These soft anthropomorphic pillows and warming lamps,”heat, light, and provide company” according to the designer, Francesca Lanzavecchia.
Lanzavecchia’s personal interpretation of design is the result of a multidisciplinary approach combining an engineering problem solver attitude with an emotional fascination for humanism. Being grounded in the practical and logical, she practices an agile methodology and produces provoking concepts. The artist dreams, observes, debates, experiments, designs, and creates—drawing upon the emotional and intangible while relating them with the real and affecting.
“Can electric energy fill the void of human absence?” she asked herself when designing LightMates. Their different sizes answer to everyone’s need of heat; a mate to hug or a huge companion you can lay on. Lanzavecchia shows off her Lightmate:
(Imagine a roomful of preschoolers curled up on these things instead of sleeping bags at nap time!)
LightMates are an outgrowth of the artist’s line of products presented in the catalog, Proaesthetics: Disability Artifacts of Support. These products set out to create a bridge between user and producer aiming to open their eyes to the possibilities and new values that these vital body accessories can bestow upon the user. Here disability aids become a stage to discuss, understand and cope with disability, illness and human frailty.