Inclusive Side Table

Miguel A. Cardona Jr.

This side table was inspired by Vignelli & Associates “inclusive” Reclining Chair concept created for the Helen Hamlyn Foundation in 1998. In approaching my concept I intended to follow principles of universal design as well as those set by the Vignelli Canon.

The table surface is curved to allow elderly users to easily pick up objects such as pills, a bowl or a remote control. The light weight frame, wheels, and underside grip allow for mobility and easy access.


Hamlyn Lounge Chair, February 1998
Client: Helen Hamlyn Foundation

Sponsored by the Helen Hamlyn foundation, Vignelli Associates designed a furniture program to meet the needs of an aging population. The aim of the project was to have products that were universally designed, were considered beautiful and were at a reasonable price point.

The lounge chair reclines and has a number of different configurations for the prototype design. There are small models as well as photos of full size mockups in the archive. There is also photo mockups of a side table designed in proportion to the lounge chair that contains several inclusive designed features. The furniture line included designs for reclining, side, dining and conference chairs, tables and a bed.

In approaching this project, Vignelli stated: “Many adjustable and fixed recliners of the 20th century have been designed to yield comfort and beauty, and while some are considered classics, none provide optimum comfort.” and that “They are too expensive for the general consumer market.”

Vignelli Associates approach on this design was to have something that will benefit a wider audience by targeting to the aging. Products that will be accessible and affordable to all. Ergonomics, ease of use, proportion, access and attractiveness drove the design. The design exists at this prototype stage only. The design process was more of a schematic for a living system that had a similar language, and that worked together and followed principles of universal design.


Photos from the Vignelli Archive that show the objects from which I drew my inspiration, and approach.


Sketches, full-size mockups and 3D renders of my ideation.