Hospitals – as places of medicine and healing – are of fundamental importance to our society. But despite all their medical professionalism, do they really provide an optimum environment for healing? Why, indeed, do we have the word “infirmary” and not the word “healery?” A project at HBKsaar provided students of product and industrial design with practical insights and encouraged the development of new solutions.


Three questions for Professor Mark Braun and Professor Nicola Stattmann from HBKsaar, who initiated and supervised the project.

What was the idea behind the “Design Meets Health” project?

The idea was to allow design students to gain first-hand experience of hospitals and, on the basis of this experience, explore how design can optimise processes and consider which needs can be met. How, for instance, can bridges be built between strictly functional machinery and processes and the needs of patients and staff? Can emotional factors such as fear, worry and tension be transformed into trust, confidence and calm by means of good design concepts? How about stress, communication, privacy and stress management programmes?

The twelve project participants got to grips with these and many other questions – and developed products designed to solve them. The final works – in the form of prototypes, models and test series – were showcased in a staged exhibition as part of the presentation at the end of the 2020 winter semester.

How were the participants selected?

The project ran at HBKsaar during the 2019/20 winter semester and was aimed at master’s students and advanced students in the area of product and industrial design.

The participants were:

  • ANA-KARINA HALLER
  • ELENA KAYSER AND LEONIE ZEBE
  • FREDERIK JOACHIM
  • THORSTEN MÜLLER AND DEAN WEIGAND
  • DONATA KOSCHEL
  • SHUO ZHANG HUA
  • FABIAN HARDT
  • KUAI LIAN
  • PHILIPP WETTMANN
  • NING XIANG CAO

We (editors’ note: Professor Mark Braun and Professor Nicola Stattmann) and Carmen Dehning were responsible for the project as supervisors. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our project partners: Klinikum Frankfurt Höchst, Krankenhaus Nordwest and the German Design Council, especially Ms Helge Aszmoneit, who held a workshop for the students on the methodology of technically sound research in the library of the German Design Council. This was followed by the three-day hospital placement, which was rounded off by a group debriefing with Ms Helge Aszmoneit.

Which project results were of particular interest?

The students identified strongly with this project. After all, aspects such as the products’ benefit, usefulness and meaningfulness were at the forefront. Due in particular to the close contact with patients and staff during the hospital placement, there was an even greater motivation to turn innovative and people-centred solutions into product designs. 

Three projects were of particular interest:


MULTISENSORY MEDICAL CUTLERY 

ELENA KAYSER AND LEONIE ZEBE 

Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulties in chewing and swallowing that occur when one or more of the structures involved in the act of swallowing, or their interaction, is functionally impaired. The significance of eating extends well beyond the intake of food and is regarded as an important social ritual that goes hand in hand with enjoyment and communicative components. With their MULTISENSORY MEDICAL CUTLERY, ELENA KAYSER AND LEONIE ZEBE have designed tools that respond to the need for balanced, multisensory culinary experiences. The focus is on fostering independence and well-being.


RECOVERY SYSTEM 

THORSTEN MÜLLER AND DEAN WEIGAND 

Damage to the musculoskeletal system, as well as lengthy inpatient hospital stays, result in functional and mobility restrictions for patients. It is therefore important to encourage coordinated movements and to restore patients’ awareness of their own bodies. Apart from physiotherapy, there are unfortunately few options open to patients to train these aspects. The design RECOVERY SYSTEM by THORSTEN MÜLLER AND DEAN WEIGAND is therefore intended for public and semi-public spaces and can be used independently following an initial introduction by a therapist. The shapes, colours and textures invite users to explore, touch and experiment with the modules. 

Dean Weigand and Thorsten Müller. Photo: PaoloCuffaro

LARYNGECTOMY – VENTILATION MASK  

NING XIANG CAO 

When post-laryngectomy patients require first aid following an accident or a sudden severe illness, problems frequently occur, as passers-by are hardly ever conversant with the special requirements and medical knowledge needed to administer first aid to such patients. Ventilation can only be provided via the stoma. The VENTILATION MASK by NING XIANG CAO is fixed to the throat and does not come loose during CPR and artificial ventilation. Furthermore, the device prevents the tip of the chin falling onto the sternum, enabling safe mouth-to-stoma resuscitation in an emergency.

Ning Xiang Cao
Print Friendly, PDF & Email