Ethical Design

We live in a world in which, nowadays, facing equality and impartiality  seems to be impossible.This is clear evaluating common lifestyles and thoughts coming from environmental and social impact.

Humans seems to think just about their own interests in an egoistic perspective. The future is not something which we care about, and neither the environment. From this carelessness, environmental problems and humanity difficulties emerged. This has to be changed and a designer should be the one who starts this fight to achieve the goal of a fair lifestyle.

In the first place, a nice example of a design product that satisfies physically impaired needs (one hand people) is “Single Hand cook” by Gabriele Meldaikte (Fig 1).


Fig.1:Single Hand, cook

This is a developed prototype idea’s appliance to be used to prepare meals and feeling confident in the kitchen. An additional positive feature is that it can be use by both left and right handed. This lets think about the high control of different issues.

Single hand cooker allows disabled people do actions which they could not previously do in order to let they be independent and free to cook..

As examples, applying on a surface some plastics spikes, it will be possible to fix the fruit on place slicing and peeling it (Fig. 2). In Fig. 3, we can see that anhand to hold the bread here is substituted by some rounded and curved partition to be adapted to different food shapes.

Also opening containers and jars is easy fitting them into apposite spaces that doesn’t allow them move during the action. (Fig. 4) 

As an addition, interesting to mention the clever grate with a box underneath that doesn’t need to be keep in hand. (Fig 5)

The design is easily definable as smart and clear, based on research on stabilizing elements and gripping details, combined with an appreciable aesthetic.

Not hard to say that The single hand cooker is a prototype idea that has legs and should be taken further into the market.( Radhika, S., 2009)

However, even if a problem is solved, ethic design faces constantly many other issues to solve. For example, if a physically impaired person is also using a wheelchair he can not fit as well into a standard kitchen. Furthermore, also the usage of public transports and areas is denied.

Disability shouldn’t be a synonymous of inability but it’s clear that it seems to be.

In our view it is society which disables physically impaired people. Disability is something imposed on top of our impairments by the way we are unnecessarily isolated and excluded from full participation in society.” (Fundamental Principles of Disability’ 1976 )

This is the challenge that design has to face shaping environments and developing structures and tools in order to guarantee a free usage of them.

Sometimes, a design technology can be integrated into a common device to suit needs of disabled. The current aim is to produce sophisticated and complex objects for able-bodied people to be later substituted, or improved with different features to give them an universal usage. In contrast, it is surely more effective to develop items once trying to satisfy at the same time everyone needs. In this way, lots of materials and manufacturing energy waste would be avoided within a previously settled analysis.

Here is where a Universal design approach is due.

As reported in, “Universal Design makes things safer, easier and more convenient for everyone. It involves designing products and spaces so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible. Universal Design evolved from Accessible Design, a design process that addresses the needs of people with disabilities. Universal Design goes further by recognizing that there is a wide spectrum of human abilities. Everyone, even the most able-bodied person, passes through childhood, periods of temporary illness, injury and old age.” (Universal Design, 2014) (Fig. 6)

Also Ronald L. Mace agrees that “the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.”

Not only a couple of rules and ideas to follow are enough to allow the world to be easily constructed and habitable. Also social believes, ways of thinking and good perspectives are to change necessarily. Our own reflection about the fact and the easy solution should be the first step of a changeable walk.


L. Mace, R. (1998). Center for Universal Design NCSU – About the Center – Ronald L. Mace. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2014].

Radhika, S. (2009). One-Hand Kitchen Equipment for Handicapped People by Gabriele Meldaikyte » Yanko Design. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2014]., (2014). [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2014].


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