Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, in partnership with the New York City’s Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, will host a day long symposium on February 8, 2018 focused on designing accessible cities. R82 Scallop designer Keira Gwynn will be among the symposium presenters, including Kat Holmes, founder of KATA, a platform for advancing inclusion in product development and digital experiences; Patricia Moore, internationally renowned gerontologist, designer and president of Moore Design Associates; and deaf, human-centered designer, former attorney and motivational speaker Elise Roy, who is at the vanguard of the disruptive innovation movement.

The symposium will open with remarks by Caroline Baumann, Director of Cooper Hewitt, followed by brief talks from the presenters’ varied perspectives that will explore barriers that make cities inaccessible and the innovations that promote intentional user-focused design.

The R82 Scallop – a portable special needs seat that originally came to life as a university project — is among 70 works on view that aid in social interactions, daily living, play and in navigating the environment. Ms. Gwynn designed the R82 Scallop to aid children living with mild to moderate disabilities in floor sitting and to add extra support while sitting on a chair.

The symposium is the centerpiece of the Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access, a free programming series taking place during the first two weeks of February that features workshops, film, dance and a showcase of college student designs. Collaborators include the San Francisco-based studio Creative Growth, Columbia University Digital Storytelling Lab, Google, Mark Morris Dance Group and ReelAbilities Film Festival.

During the afternoon session, Victor Calise, Commissioner, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, will moderate a conversation among Keira Gwynn, Kat Holmes, Patricia Roy and Kleo King, Deputy Commissioner General counsel, Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities; Alex Elegudin, co-founder and president of Wheeling Forward, an organization that helps recently disabled people obtain the services they need; and, R. Luke Dubois, composer, artist and director of the Brooklyn Experimental Media Center at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering.

Both events will take place at the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery within the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, 2 East 91st Street, New York, NY.

Additionally, Ms. Gwynn will return to Cooper Hewitt on February 9, 2018 to participate in a review of college student projects on accessibility and inclusion, as part of a panel of experts in the field. Students, representing colleges and universities across the nation, will present their own proposals for design solutions that improve accessibility or inclusion to the panel.

The R82 Scallop primarily serves children with moderate special needs or behavioral disorders within GMFCS levels I-III, and in some case for children in GMFCS level IV, for shorter periods of time.  Head control is a prerequisite for using the R82 Scallop and the seat is not appropriate for children who have strong extensor spasticity.  However, in some cases the R82 Scallop might reduce spasticity because of the enclosing support around the pelvis and trunk it provides with hips optimally positioned by use of a wedge.

The Etac Group

For more than 40 years, Etac has developed products and services that create possibilities for users and caregivers. Our products are aimed for people with physical disabilities and their caretakers. We provide a well-designed product range for short and long term care whether this be in the home, hospital or other healthcare setting.  Etac’s track record in functional, innovative and comfortable products includes a number of international design awards that have repeatedly set new standards in the market. The Etac Group has six product brands; Etac, Immedia, Molift, Star, Convaid and R82.

Headquartered in Stockholm, the Etac Group has sales companies in Australia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States with supply units in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

Convaid | R82 

Convaid | R82 enriches the lives of special needs families by developing and manufacturing best-in-class, easy-to-use, convenient and attractive seating, standing, walking / gait, transportation and hygiene products for all stages of a young person’s life – from childhood through young adult. We develop products tailored to individual needs. Through comprehensive development, Convaid | R82 is constantly moving forward — without compromising quality of service and closeness to the customer.

The objective of each and every Convaid | R82 employee is: adjustment to individual needs to provide the child the greatest possible freedom – in a world in movement. As part of Etac, the company believes that everyone should be able to live a free and independent life and pursue their dreams regardless of any physical circumstances.

About Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum 

Founded in 1897, Cooper Hewitt is the only museum in the United States devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. Housed in the renovated and restored Carnegie Mansion, Cooper Hewitt showcases one of the most diverse and comprehensive collections of design works in existence. The museum’s restoration, modernization and expansion has won numerous awards and honors, including a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award from the New York Landmarks Conservancy, a Gold Pencil Award for Best in Responsive Environments and LEED Silver certification. Cooper Hewitt offers a full range of interactive capabilities and immersive creative experiences, including the Cooper Hewitt Pen that allows visitors to “collect” and “save” objects from around the galleries, the opportunity to explore the collection digitally on ultra-high-definition touch-screen tables, and draw and project their own wallpaper designs in the Immersion Room. More information at



Convaid website | Convaid Facebook | R82 website | R82 Facebook | Etac, Immedia, Molift website

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

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