Adam Thomas is an accessible kitchen consultant who has been collaborating with the Symphony Group for a number of years. With over 35 years of accessible kitchen design experience, Adam is the industry’s leading expert, with an unrivalled array of achievements such as a KBB 2020 lifetime achievement award.
We sat down to discuss accessible kitchens with Adam Thomas, and also discussed how he feels about his recent award. We also wanted Adam to answer some of the questions he gets regularly regarding accessible design.
Adam, how do you feel about your lifetime achievement award?
My ambition has always been to change the face of accessible kitchen design, enabling ‘access for all’ by designing flexible kitchens that are inclusive and also look stylish in the home. This award from KBB is a step towards furthering my ambition of making accessible kitchens for all, and I would like to thank Symphony for their and support which I feel led to this award.
How did you originally get into accessible kitchen design?
I was already working for a kitchen company when I was injured in a road traffic accident at the age of 17 and since then I have been spinally injured and a full-time wheelchair user. I hadn’t ever thought about accessible design prior to this, and there wasn’t much in the way of accessible kitchens on the market at the time. This is when I realised that an accessible kitchen design was being treated as a niche market, filled with clinical looking spaces, which I wanted to change. That’s when I started looking into an accessible kitchen offer and how accessible kitchens could be brought into the mainstream market.
What is the most important thing to consider when designing an accessible kitchen?
You have to work closely with the customer during an accessible kitchen design, even more so than a standard kitchen. It is important to watch how they use their existing kitchen if there are any areas or tasks they are struggling with and how space is working for them. I then like to sit at a table and talk this through with the client and propose all the solutions that are available within the Freedom product that can make their experience in the space easier and safer. Once this has been discussed we will start looking at aesthetics, and what their vision for the room looks like, alongside how the accessible features will work within the area.
You have collaborated with Symphony to create the Freedom brand, what do you think makes this collection of accessible kitchens stand out?
Freedom truly is an exceptional collection of products, and I am so proud to have collaborated to create this brand. The collection houses such a wide array of features, that I know from experience encourage independence in the home, making it accessible and safer for all. Furthermore, Symphony has made its best selling ranges available within the brand, meaning that style doesn’t have to be compromised to have an accessible home.
Where do you see accessible kitchen design heading in the future?
I think the kitchen industry is really taking notice of accessible design at the moment, and I think Symphony is leading the way with the Freedom product. Part of my work with Symphony is talking to their retailers, housebuilders and also those that are involved in home adaptations such as occupational therapists. I do this because I believe education is key. Until you talk to someone about accessible design and discuss the limitations a standard kitchen can have, I think it’s difficult to understand the importance of accessible design. I hope that with this educations housebuilders, architects and retail showrooms will all bring accessible kitchen design into their day to day running.
Adam Thomas is offering accessible kitchen training free of charge to occupational therapists, architects and other adaptation professionals hosted at Freedom by Symphony showrooms. If you are interested in the training sessions please contact Freedom@symphony-group.co.uk.
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