Patrick Missodey is a jewellery designer based in Toronto who, some may think, faces some formidable barriers. A former soccer star and new Canadian who moved from Tobo, Africa in 2010, Patrick uses a mobility scooter or sometimes a cane to move around due to a spinal cord injury. A creative designer, he struggles with the starving artist cliché and was looking for a space that supported not only his creative practice but was also accessible.
Design involves many elements: available budget, appropriate materiality, brand, and the construction timeline. What we create can either support or be an obstruction to function. We put accessibility and inclusion, resilience, wellness, and experiential design into that elemental toolkit every time we create a space.
Human Space specializes in how to integrate these important considerations every time. When we approach the design of a space we think of Patrick or people with disabilities who too often are left to navigate a built environment that doesn’t work for everyone. A strong area of expertise for Human Space is accessibility, and with 22% of Canadians and similar numbers in Britain living with a reported disability, those responsible for the built environment must quickly become familiar and comfortable with disability. Often people think accessible design is about developing spaces for people using mobility devices. Though this is part of the dialogue, there is so much more that affects an individual’s ability to use space including vision, hearing, strength and stamina, size and stature, dexterity and the experiential effects of neurodiversity.
In recent years, “wellness” and “resilience” have entered the design lexicon and while there is value in understanding how our work can shape and affect our personal health and wellbeing, we need to be aware that these elements are more than mere buzzwords and viewing them through the lens of inclusion is vital to creating holistic and healthy built environments. Canadians spend 90% of their time indoors. Ask yourself – will you still be able to use today’s spaces in years to come? Accessibility, wellness, and resilience are interconnected because they are human-centered, and we applaud bold, innovative design that seamlessly marries these concepts. Considering one without the others creates friction. For example, while feature stairs are great for increasing physical activity, this design feature should not be linked to hiding elevators or making them difficult to access. Designing better is about doing better and doing better thinks about designing for everyone of all abilities
Patrick makes his jewellery at Artscape Daniels Launchpad – a socially sustainable project that integrates all elements of wellness, accessibility, resilience, and experience. The design mandate was to foster a strong creative community and by using human-centric design principles, the needs, wants, and most importantly, the experience of its members are at the core of the design. From the ease of movement within the space to the emotive qualities of a dramatic wallcovering or a salvaged wood gymnasium floor, Launchpad succeeds because the design considered the full gamut of human experience and connection.
We have a collective opportunity to explore the design inclusion possibilities that put the human experience first when we move to our new Toronto studio in The Well in 2022. We look forward to welcoming everyone!