HEWI redesigns fitting icons for the healthcare sector
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HEWI redesigns fitting icons for the healthcare sector

Mar 06, 2023

By relaunching their iconic range 477/801 with new color combinations, the Germany-based expert for barrier-free bathroom products gives new life to a design classic and refreshes care architecture across age groups.

Creating a design icon is not easy. With the 477/801 range, HEWI succeeded in producing a true fittings classic that has now been relaunched with updated color combinations

all images courtesy of HEWI

Design icons don't just appear overnight. They are preceded by a very precise observation of society, its needs and most often intimately tied to humanity's technological achievements. This explains, for example, why the development of the first colored and plastic door handle by Rudolf Wilke coincides with the moon landing: suddenly, everything in design had to be light, round, colorful and preferably ‘spacey’. Further examples include Luigi Colani's 1969 Satellite Kitchen and Dane Verner Panton's experiments with a new material. The product, polyamide, was used to create a new seating furniture typology named after him: the plastic chair without back legs, which is still produced in series today.

But back to the brand at hand: HEWI. The company has been writing success stories at least since the introduction of their lever handle range 111 in 1969. Ten years later, its sanitary series 477 maintained the door fitting's design language and ushered in a new, overarching principle: universal design – an ethos of ‘design for all’, which was further expanded 20 years later with the sanitary series 477/801, the first system for barrier-free bathrooms on the German market. The approach: to set the tone in the sanitary area with barrier-free products for washbasins, toilets and showers that support movement, provide safety and enable independence without appearing purely functional or stigmatizing.

HEWI's new color canon of coral, aqua blue and pure white not only offers color-stimulating accents, but also has practical functions for people with impaired vision

Whereas Range 477/801 was previously available in a monochrome signal white, jet black, 14 other glossy shades and five matt varieties, HEWI is now expanding it to include three special color concepts for furnishing healthcare buildings and daycare centers. ‘Design icons make an impression, are still desirable after decades and, with only a few modifications, appear as young, fresh and innovative as on the first day,’ explains the company. Grab rails, folding support rails, shower rails, folding seats as well as accessories such as the toilet brush holder and wall hooks can now be selected in one of three color editions.

To liven up clinics, which are known to most as sterile, uninspiring places, with vitalizing splashes of color, HEWI suggests a harmonizing trifecta of tones: coral, aqua blue and pure white. ‘Color reaches us on an emotional level, creates atmosphere and brings authenticity and individuality to interiors,’ says HEWI. In planning, moreover, it increases a project's design scope and pays tribute to the concept of ‘Healing Architecture’ by supporting the recovery process through consciously used design elements. Certain color tones and materials, for example, contribute to a feeling of security and create a relaxing and stress-free environment.

For international barrier-free expert HEWI, these considerations are of the utmost relevance, ‘which is why the interaction between people and their surroundings as well as the healing and regenerating aspects of design have been incorporated into the color concepts of Range 477/801.’ In addition, the product's color accentuation also serves another function: it signals which parts are important for its use and thus supports intuitive application. This is particularly advantageous for people with impaired vision and an example of how this tricolor variant unfolds its full potential in the care sector.

With blue (above) and green color worlds (below), HEWI offers vibrant, child-friendly highlights for an often sterile and uninviting environment

HEWI has also developed two lively color concepts especially for children's clinics, nurseries and day-care centers. The tricolor variant apple green, may green and coral exists alongside a triad of aqua blue, steel blue and apple green. Both options have a soft, calming and harmonizing effect – a convincing counter-offer to a sterile, clinical look, where robustness and ease of care have long taken precedence over design sophistication. The ICONIC products of Range 477/801 can thus be used to create imaginative washrooms for children by harmoniously complementing a tile or wallpaper concept and serving as accents in combination with the use of natural materials.

To ensure that HEWI can promise a high and consistent level of durability across products, the manufacturer works with high-quality polyamide, available in both a high-gloss and matt ICONIC finish. One thing is of special note: When it comes to quality, the company knows no compromises – and that applies all the more to its icons.

Guest Feature by Markus Hieke / Architonic