When a blind person cooks, the other four senses are sharpened to feel and experience the process in a much more sensory way than for sighted people,” says Neora Zigler, the designer of Sento Tactile Cookware.
The aim of the range, which Zigler developed as a student at the Department of Inclusive Industrial Design of Hadassah College in Jerusalem, is to solve some of the difficulties experienced by visually impaired people when learning to cook by amplifying their sensory engagement with the products.
While observing cooking lessons at the Jewish Institute for the Blind, Zigler noted that many visually impaired people found pans on the hob by feeling for the surrounding halo of heat. “Learning and experience are necessary processes for becoming independent,” she says. “But in a kitchen, error soon becomes injury.”
To avoid this, the collection’s metallic pan is fitted with a detachable silicone funnel that allows the cook to feel for the object without touching the hot metal. The rim can be manipulated into different positions, creating a spout for pouring or a lid for boiling, steaming or storing. Its integrated rigid handles double as function locks.
Zigler’s teaspoon is split into four adjoining thimbles, allowing users to measure spices by blocking off quarter teaspoon increments with their thumbs; it can burrow easily into the narrowest jars.
Raised tactile patterns, rather than Braille, distinguish the content of spice jars – helpful for those who have lost their vision recently or later in life. A silicone lip guides the hand to the rim, making pouring easier. It can also be bent and tucked over to create a covering, eliminating the need for a separate lid.
Research into various forms of congenital colour blindness led Zigler to tint the jars different shades of the same colour as lightness and darkness are far easier to detect than different colours. The various hues of blue were most easily distinguished during the experiments with optical condition simulators. Zigler says: “The collection looks beautiful, but the main emphasis was on making functional tools while finding a uniform design language that defined the complete set.”