Time spent volunteering with Touch Home Care under Touch Community Services opened Kevin Chiam’s eyes to the world of the frail elderly, a number of whom are visually impaired. “It’s a cause close to my heart as I grew up with my grandmother. I’ve always been comfortable around seniors,” says the 26-year-old industrial design graduate from National University of Singapore. “Through the home visits and interaction, I came to realise that many of the elderly are blind or partially blind, and most struggle with chores, especially in the kitchen.”
That set Kevin thinking and devising ways on how to make day-to-day living “easier” for the visually impaired, a thesis project-turned-labour of love. The result was Folks, a kitchenware trio (knife, chopping board and teaspoon) that snagged the top prize at the James Dyson Award ( JDA) in Singapore, a design competition organised by the James Dyson Foundation to inspire and support the next generation of engineers.
Chosen from a pool of 26 Singapore entries, Kevin’s design fulfilled not just the simple JDA brief (“design something that solves a problem”), but also wowed judge Made Artha who said Folks Kitchenware “is a great example of using design to solve a problem that others seem to ignore” and, through its design, Kevin proves that “simple solutions can be powerful and inventive”.
Home&Decor catches up with the