I have always been passionate about art and design. Since childhood and throughout my adult education I have always had a great appreciation for spatial designs and creative themes.
My final year project was to create a proposal to help the development of the visually impaired community. The project was a special challenge, as you had to go beyond the visual and be able to reach out to other senses in the design.
The visually impaired space is for all ages who are passionate about dance and reading. As an experienced dancer, I was fascinated to understand and see how I could help visually impaired people enjoy dance and get the benefits I get from it.
Cambridge is famous for its large libraries and academic population. Complementing the space with an active library helps to maximise and focus the use of the library for visually impaired people.
My research with visually impaired associations helped me to understand that blind people orient themselves differently in space than those without disabilities.
Room heights and ceilings change the way sounds are heard. Echoes can even help to demarcate an area or determine where in the room they are.
Light remains an important part of design. Some people with poor eyesight can find their way around with small amounts of light. Large vertical and horizontal lines of light can help them orient themselves.
The powerful combination of touch, sound, light and smell is used in this project to help visually impaired people orient themselves. It helps them to rely on their other senses and not to depend solely on their visual abilities, as people without visual impairments would do. The philosopher Plato said that “sight is the greatest gift of mankind”, and in this case the design helps the visually impaired to use their other senses and not just their eyes.