Consultant in Accessibility
“At Cristina Mota Inclusive Design, we use Design as a tool to empower people. Inclusive Design is about creating products and/services that make people’s life easier by allowing them to live an independent quality of life”.
About Cristina Mota
Ana Cristina Carvalho Mota is a Portuguese Product Designer with 25 years of experience, of which the past 12 years she has dedicated to Inclusive Design. Born in Angola, (Africa), of Portuguese nationality, lived in Coimbra, (Portugal), Aberdeen, (Scotland), The Hague, (Holland) and finally decides to study Design in the UK. She completes her B.A Honours Degree in “Furniture and Product Design” at Ravensbourne College of Design and Communication and moves to Portugal where she starts her career working for various design companies. She is offered a position as Industrial Designer in one of the top Graphic Design studios in Portugal, (Atelier Henrique Cayatte), where she was responsible for designing the stands for the various Book Fairs, both abroad (Frankfurt) and in Lisbon.
Two years later she comes across Novodesign, the biggest Design and Architecture Studio in Portugal, and joins the team of 100 Designers and Architects in the studio, and her responsibility is to Design Accessible Stands for public institutions. Finally, she decides to set up her own company called “Letsdesign”. For 5 years she runs it and takes on projects from big clients. She focusses on working for important customers, such as Sintra´s County Council, Designing multi-use, Accessible Kiosks, signage for Sintra´s Library and for the Knowledge Pavillion, used in the Expo in Lisbon, organised and put together events, such as “Internet.pt”, their 3rd Anniversary, amongst others.
At the same time lecturing at I.A.D.E. (Institute of Art and Design) in Lisbon where she introduces the importance of Accessible Design. Her passion in this area of Design grows and she feels the need to learn more and specialize in this field, so in 1996 she moves to the U.K. to do an M.A. in “Design Research for Disability” at the London Metropolitan University. Whilst doing her Master she manages to get a job as Director of Consultancy at the “Centre for Accessible Environments” (C.A.E), where she is responsible in ensuring that her clients are presented to the most suited consultant in his/her field and that Access Audits, Design Appraisals, Walk and Talk Audits, are done and presented to highest quality possible.
After one of her many visits to Spain, she sees the potential in the field of access, so decides move to Andalucía, the community with the highest number of people with disability. Working for Pedro Peña, Blackshaw Interior Design, Pulse Interior Design and Concept Building before deciding to go freelance. Cristina works from Marbella, where she has been living for the past 8 years. Has experience as invited speaker at the Accessibility Event at the Aveiro University, invited member of Jury for final year Industrial Design course in Ourém, Portugal, and most recently been invited to do a talk on the “Present and Future of Accessible Design”, at the “Construacción Seminar on Bio- Construction”, that took place in Granada, targeted at Hotel owners, Construction companies, Architects, and all those interested in the Environment.
About Raymond Kersten
I am a 50 year old Dutch Industrial Designer, with a MA in Design from the University of Northumbria in Newcastle (currently Newcastle University). I graduated in 1996. I was born deaf and I have tunnel vision, called Retinitis Pigmentosa. This is a genetic disease, called Usher’s Syndrome Type 1. The eye disease is a progressive illness. When you get older, your vision becomes smaller and smaller. It is possible that I eventually become totally blind in the future. At the moment I can only see through a field of about 3-4 degrees. The symptoms of this syndrome are night blindness, low-contrast and problems with balance.
About two years ago I started having problems reading the normal font size, so now I use font enlargers as an aid. I have to be lucky to have technologies like Tablets, which enable me to zoom fonts and images.
The communication too becomes more and more difficult. When my vision was better I was able to lip read, now I need the sign language to support lip reading, or to be more specific the 4-hands sign language is the best way to communicate.In this system I take the hands of my speaking-partner into mine so that I can feel his/her hands making signs/forms. I believe Product Design is what I am best at. I have experience in designing a wide variety of products, from tools to furniture, from kitchen tools to industrial tools, lighting furniture, medical tools/devices and/or toys.
However now I am more focused on brainstorming and thinking of ergonomics rather than doing research.
Design Awards that I have won?
I have participated in several design competitions. Although I have only won one award. This was an award for our LED lighting furniture, organized by Osram, where I entered the competition with a friend and we won it.
For the Forbo linoleum Design Competition, I designed rotating table mats for glasses/bottles made of linoleum. Out of about 300 participants worldwide I was nominated as one of the final 6 nominations. My design was also made and exhibited in the Furniture Design event in Verona, Italy.
I was nominated for the final with my bronze artwork that I entered to the Design Competition for and by the deaf blinds, organized by Sense in Scotland. I designed bronze tiles with waved reliefs on the surface which have several applications. These tiles can be used as a puzzle so that the deaf blind people can feel the relieved surfaces to fit each tile with each other, or these tiles can be used as a tile decoration in the kitchen, toilet or bathroom…depending on the user´s choice.
After my M.A. I worked as kayak builder for 6 years. This company was a small family-run business that built kayaks for professional sportsmen who competed in tournaments like the Olympic Games. We produced kayaks with materials like glass reinforced plastics.
I managed to get this job via a specialized organization that helps the disabled people to find a job or internship. The organization works with the governmental authorities. If I could get any job that I wanted, what would it be? Due my bad eyesight I can only sit behind the computer a few hours a day (2-3 hours or so)..I love to do modeling in 3D, using autoCAD etc. Ideally, I´d like to work as Product designer, and preferably improve smaller products on the market.
What do I need to be able to teach design? I need a translator/ interpreter. He/she must forward my stories because my voice sounds very different and not everybody understands what Im saying. And this translator too will communicate with me using sign language.
How do I feel when you work on Inclusive Design projects? I feel myself useful to society. For me design was and is always my biggest interest because I often discover badly designed things….it is necessary to pay a lot of attention to design and styles. I’d be happy to pass on my Design knowledge onto the new generation!