A simple twist on your typical handrail is making it much easier for people who might need a break while climbing the stairs. Rest for awhile is a clever concept by Chinese design firm Shenzhen Jinwei Innovation Design Company (SJDC). The design simply adds a small perch for people to sit on for a moment as they make their way up or down the stairs, showing how a small change can make a significant impact on people's lives.
The project came about when the firm thought about the fact that there are many residential buildings in China that do not have elevators. This requires people, including the elderly and those with mobility issues, to climb many stairs to reach their apartment. Noting that people often need to take a break as they climb, SJDC wanted to make things easier.
By bending the railing into a small bench, a space is carved out to sit and catch one's breath between floors. It's an ingenious idea and one so seemingly obvious that it makes you wonder why no one has thought of it before. For their innovative creation, SJDC won a 2020 iF Design Award. They estimate that it will take up to a year of development to perfect the project and they plan to market it in Asia, Australia, and Europe.
Though Rest for awhile was designed with the elderly in mind, it's also a welcome pit stop for someone with a physical disability that might require frequent rests or simply anyone who doesn't have the stamina for climbing. Anyone who has had to go up and down a few flights can attest to the fact that even those who are in decent shape would be happy to take advantage of the bench if it were provided.
With their win, SJDC once again proves that sometimes the best design doesn't come from flashy new technology or expensive materials. By taking a step back and thinking of their target users' needs, the firm made all the difference with just a few inexpensive touches.