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with Wanda Gaertner, Stephan Deininger & Muriel McCalla

Product & process development for users with disabilities at SFZ Chemnitz | 2014-2015


design research | facilitation | analysis | product development | user testing | exhibition design

the project & the need

For almost two years, we acted as product development consultants and responsible designers for the workshop for visually impaired persons in Chemnitz, Germany. The aim of this collaboration was to develop a new product the workshop could produce – basing it on the existing knowledge, preferences and abilities of the employees (clients).

The result – the table lamp “Hallo!” – reflects the sum of insights gathered as a tangible product. Besides this, equal effort went into the development of the assistive equipment for production and communicating the findings to a broader public.


The final product – the table lamp "Hallo!".


Testing the assistive equipment.

the relevancy

Our goal was to develop a product that economically and work process wise makes sense for all stakeholders involved – but also serves as a communication piece to highlight the underlying societal and theoretical discussion.


Work observations and interviews with the clients.


Autoethnography – staff and clients make us experience their daily life.

the methods & the process

We based our design and development process on empathic design research, desk research, and material and production research. 

Besides other, the analysis of insights resulted in a mapping of the activities and processes already existing in the workshop for visually impaired. It helped us identify current ways of working and work preferences.

We presented several concept ideas to the clients and staff – and together decided on proceeding with the table lamp. The chosen design and material properties, as well as the clients’ capabilities informed the iterative development of the assistive equipment.


observation &


material workshops


desk research

the outcome & the impact

Besides the product and process development, we aimed for the project to gain traction. We created several exhibition concepts – to explain the tangible outcome, but also the design and research process and its relevancy.

We showcased our work e.g. at Bauhaus University's yearly exhibition 2015 and were chosen for “Bauhaus Studio 100” – an exhibition series and catalogue related to Bauhaus University’s 100th anniversary.


Page from the “Bauhaus Studio 100” catalogue.


The “Bauhaus Studio 100” exhibition in Gelmeroda and Ulm, Germany.

Photo: Stephan Deininger


Photo: Wanda Gaertner

my lessons learned

Working independently as a small design team for product & process development

The importance and meaning of empathic design research and collaboration

Understanding the empowerment of working on a meaningful project

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