A self-initiated project by Toronto’s social impact design consultancy Human Space — in collaboration with Quadrangle — aims to re-imagine a hotel suite that extends a luxurious hospitality experience to all guests, including those with physical disabilities and learning difficulties, with the objective to make their stay more enjoyable and inclusive. It incorporates generous clearances, multi-functional details, and audible and visual assistive elements, all designed to the same exacting aesthetic standards that one would expect to find in any room of a well-appointed hotel.
On entering the suite, guest first notice the distinctive palette of colours and textures. The interior offers a seamless and original blend of design tropes that are conventionally thought of as masculine and feminine. Delicate pink floral graphic walls border on black tile and brass fittings; a lacy pink curtain divides a room paneled in rich, dark wood.
The universal design features, meanwhile, are neither concealed nor obtrusive; they enhance the aesthetics of the suite. The expansive space at the entrance feels roomy and welcoming, and also allows for easy maneuvering of a wheelchair. The front door features a power door operator made from polished brass: an accessibility device designed to be both beautiful and functional. In the open closet, a rack for hanging clothes can be raised and lowered, so it’s easily reached while seated; a lower drawer rolls out to double as a stool. The closet is part of a continuous wall unit that flows into a counter and desk, making it truly multi-functional. Audiovisual assistive elements include an emergency alert system and visual doorbell that operates by dimming the recessed lighting on the floral wall.
The bathroom boasts a sliding door rather than a swing door, maximizing the floor area to provide turning space for mobility devices. The finishing details are carefully considered to eliminate barriers while providing a spa-like environment. The roll-in shower features a large wooden bench, toiletries are printed with braille, and the grab bars are carved from dark wood, textured and elegantly detailed with brass. The robe hooks, fixed at differing heights, are individually lit.
Accessibility doesn’t have to look utilitarian. A departure from the institutional, sanitized look and feel of much barrier-free design, this suite offers any traveler a pleasant and relaxing stay.
This project was developed by Human Space in collaboration with Quadrangle in order to demonstrate the practice’s desire to create more inclusive physical environments.
Human Space is a collaboration of experts, architects and designers working with city builders and place makers to create spaces for all.