Stylish furniture designs built for relaxing the senses of dementia patients

We’ve all heard of multifunctional furniture, but these French furniture makers take it to another level. GB Designs’ collection, named Jardin d’Hiver or Winter Garden, aren’t of the modular couch ilk, where you can remove and adjust furniture to suit your needs.

Without a cure in sight for dementia, the designers decided to apply their skills to make life that little bit easier for sufferers. Each piece is tailored to the needs of people suffering with dementia.

The credenza, bedside cabinets and console table are topped with a translucent material called Corian®, an aroma diffuser and light therapy lamp, which diffuses the light. Dementia sufferers often have disturbed sleep and light therapy helps to reduce anxiety.

This combination engages the user’s senses, from the tactile, sight and smell. The website states, “The design evokes an open window into a snow covered landscape, where the aromatherapy emanates from a sculpted sensual mountain, and the light therapy diffuses behind a graphic scenery that invites the individual to envisage a faraway relaxing landscape.”

The results are both stylish, and reassuring and GB Designs says the result of research “conducted for the user group of people with dementia, though suitable for a larger category of people.

Five minutes with Rebecca Bowering-Fitzpatrick of Atelier Textiles

Describe Atelier Textiles in a couple of sentences…
A treasure trove of the world’s best soft furnishing fabrics. Atelier means a ‘working studio’ in French. We are literally a hub of creativity, where designers, architects and artistic souls meet to actually make that superbly designed house into a beautiful home that represents the owners.

What is your favourite international fabric fair, and why?
Paris Deco Off. Although January isn’t the ideal time to visit Paris, the show is incomparable in the textile field – the first stop for all of the top textile labels. It’s the editeurs’ showcase.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career to date?
This is really difficult. I have absolute joy visiting a home decorated in our fabrics, but that is a frequent occurrence. I love it when the editeurs visit, especially when Nicolo Rubelli, CEO of Rubelli, and Chuck Chewning the Design Director for Donghia, came to New Zealand. I cannot describe the energy that exuded as they shared their blended passion with New Zealand’s top designers. It really was amazing to watch the interaction, knowledge and love for textiles, which was shared in all directions (amongst many wines and much hilarity). I love it that top editeurs like these who visit New Zealand have so much respect for New Zealand design.”

What textile trends are you loving the most right now, and why?
Again, I love it all. But I am particularly impressed with the designs emerging from using new techniques to create quite remarkable fabrics. The test will be how to use these fabrics in design.

When selecting textiles, what non-negotiable elements must they have, in your view?
Every fabric has its own attributes and the trick is for the homeowner to decide what is important. Man-made fibres offer durability and practicality, but for me I love natural fibres that have an artisan feel. Unfortunately we all have to make our own choices as to which attributes are the most important as no one fabric can give you everything.

What advice would you give someone looking to refresh their living room and/or home?
To me, buying quality is the key thing, even if it is just one or two special things to fit the budget rather than going for quantity. Perhaps a few new cushions, a gorgeous chair, or a fabulous bedhead. These things will give the home a fresh new look, but will be investments for the future. Do as the Europeans do, buy new things, but keep the old too (especially if you’re buying quality). Use the older items to share with your family or put them in storage to bring out at the change of season.

You are passionate about textiles. Can you explain that passion in a few words?
Yes, I love fabrics. Maybe it’s in the blood, as my family has always been in textiles. Although it has been almost 20 years, I am still inspired by the new collections that the editeurs create, in fact it amazes me more and more from year to year. I also love working with our clients. I consider most of them friends and love their energy and creativity. To be honest sometimes I can’t believe that I am as lucky as I am, it really doesn’t feel like work.