Tampellan Työhuone for memory-friendly interiors

Published: 16/06/2021

Ms. Tuija Salmi of Tampellan Työhuone has a long experience of coordinating memory-friendly interiors for people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. In memory-friendly interiors, patients can live independently for a longer period of time, and they stay more active – which then prevents the progress of the disease.

We had the honor to work together with Ms. Salmi for making a collection of memory-friendly bedding for institutional care. Since the early days of the existence of Patternsfrom Agency, we have been dreaming of bringing patterns and colors into hospital-like environments. However, simultaneously we have been aware of the challenges related especially with the heavy washing of the bedding that makes the colors fade away.

Ms. Salmi has a very practical approach to designing interiors, this project being no exception. There were several workshops organized with the aim to find the ultimate solution for the interior – and due to the current state of the pandemic – all organized digitally. As participants, there were people that were both living at the care-centers, people working at the care-centers – from caregivers to top management, people that make the purchase decisions, as well as us designers. When the brief was clear, we pitched some suitable, ready-made patterns from our pattern library. Later on, at the end of the process, Ms. Salmi gave final advice for the repeat sizes and colors for making four patterns from three different designers to look like a harmonized collection.

After series of testings with various materials and colors, a suitable combination was found and a full-scale manufacturing process could begin! While the bedlinen is under manufacturing process, we have a chance to introduce you Ms. Salmi and her expertise with her

3+1 tips for designing memory-friendly interiors

1. Organize the house so that items that are used on a daily basis are easily accessible. The most important things, such as phones, keys, and wallet should have their own place. Throw out things that are not needed.

2. There is a difference between the colors and patterns! People with memory disorders lose their visibility and sense of space at some point, so colors on surfaces help in daily life for a long time. Colors and their contrasts help in understanding the space.  Patterns should be either surface-kind or easy to understand, preferably with a plant theme. Even solid colors are good. Good, non-glaring lighting is much needed, as without light there are no colors.

3. Accessibility is the key to any memory-friendly interior: the sizing and dimensions of the furniture should be checked and there should be enough space for moving around with a rollator. Too much empty space is better than not enough empty space.

+1 It is worth start making the changes as soon as the diagnosis for a memory disorder has been confirmed – even if you could live in your current living environment. You will be able to learn the changes when the illness is still in its early stage, you just make your living easier later on.  It’s about preparing for the future.