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Is There a Distinctly “Vancouver” Watch?
The Museum of Vancouver’s ‘Why I Design 2016‘ is taking place this Friday night, and the lineup of talent is impressive. The event is the perfect opportunity to mingle amongst dozens of established and emerging designers, to find out what makes them tick, what inspires them to create, and why Vancouver is the place to do it.We spoke with Dutch designer Barbara Alink —inventor of The Alinker, a high-tech walking bike— about what drives her to design.VanMag: So Barbara, why do you design?Barbara Alink: I design because I am curious. When I recognize a problem, I try to understand it from all angles and then want to translate it into a solution. I care about people and I design because it is my way of serving our human community, it allows me to express my vision. It is not the design itself, but how it makes you feel, what it can do. The design is never for me but for the user.What were the most important elements you considered in the conceptualization and design of the Alinker?The isolation and stigma people with disablities experience with the use of traditional mobility aids. I can go to the bike shop and choose the coolest bike for $5000 or choose a city bike for $400, but the moment I have a disability, there are no cool things to choose from. Mobility aids are a technical solution for a body with a problem, it focuses on the problem and creates social awkwardness. I wanted to make something so cool, that it would overcome the discomfort other people have with disabilities by focusing on possibilities and creating inclusion. Recently Alinkers were used on the runway of the LA Fashion Week and in Moscow during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in events from Bezgraniz Couture, who design cool and wearABLE clothing for people with disabilities. That is where we can bridge and build inclusion, showing that disability does not mean that you can’t be cool anymore.