Paravent is the result of a design research executed in collaboration with residents and caregivers in nursing homes for people diagnosed with dementia. The study focused on the relationship between the private and common areas within a department of a nursing home. Currently, 75% of the total usable area of a department is used for the relatively large private rooms compared to only 25% percent being dedicated to the communal living room. However, because of the mandatory monitoring undertook by caregivers, the residents spend most of their time in the common living room, whilst the private room is mainly used for sleep or the occasional receiving of guests. In the small living rooms, this spatial division leads to situations where activities overlap in a less ideal way, such one resident dozing off at the dinner table, while the TV is turned on loud for a hearing impaired resident watching a program. This misaligned overlap of use in communal spaces can be increasingly disturbing with the heightened sensitivity to external stimuli of the patients.


A team of scientists, product developers and artists looked for opportunities to create more spatial diversity and seclusion for residents within the walls of the existing common living space. This has led to the development of a folding screen, a ‘paravent’. In collaboration with textile designer Samira Boon and Luuc Sonke a screen was developed that was not designed as a static interior element, but rather as an additional inhabitant with its own character. Each panel of the folding screen has its own shape, functionality and tactility. One panel is opened up to create a table, another is designed as a visual separation or as an acoustic separation. Together, the panels form a catalogue from which in consultation with residents and caregivers a selection can be made and a customized screen can be put together to meet the specific needs of the residents. The white screens provide a peaceful and neutral background in the living room. The various forms, tactility and functionality of the screens stimulate the residents and caregivers again to explore their potential and play with it.

Location: Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Client: Creative Industries Fund NL, Cordaan

Program: Space divider

Status: Completed in 2016
Project Team:  Studio Samira Boon, Luuc Sonke, Jarrik Ouburg, Hannes Heitmüller, Kornel Lewicki