Adam Thomas, the UK’s leading expert in accessible design, has said that the kitchen sector is missing out on the commercial possibilities of the market.
Thomas, who received the Special Achievement Award at the kbbreview Retail & Design Awards 2020 at the start of March, said the market shouldn’t be afraid of seeing disabled people as prospective clients.
Speaking on the latest episode of The kbbreview Podcast, Thomas said: “I have no issue making money out of disabled people, as long as it’s done right,” he said. “There are two things that annoy disabled people – firstly, as soon as anything is made for them, it virtually doubles in price, and secondly, they’re usually not designed very well in the first place.
“Disabled people don’t mind paying a good price, but what they want is to be able to go into a showroom and have the same understanding and knowledge as anyone else and not have to start explaining everything from the beginning. Equally, they want the product to fit them, not the other way round.”
“I still find it incredible that the kitchen industry hasn’t woken up to the fact that there is a massive market out there,” he said. “And it’s because it still looks at disabled people as poor and living on benefits – and that’s the small minority. The majority are working and earning money.”
Thomas is also one of the leading proponents of evolving accessible design into the multigenerational theory of design – the idea that a kitchen, for example, should be usable by anyone, regardless of age or ability.
“You could design a kitchen that’s absolutely perfect for a wheelchair user, or visually-impaired person or whoever, but if the rest of the family can’t use it, then it’s a badly designed kitchen. The multigenerational kitchen is one everyone can use.”
To listen the full Adam Thomas interview, click on the player below or search ‘kbbreview’ in your podcast app where you can see all the previous episodes, subscribe, and leave a review.