February 1, 2012
Prescription for Vitality
Yves Béhar makes popping pills look—and sound—more youthful.
Staying healthy isn’t simple in the modern age. Recent studies report that roughly half of the adults in the United States consume prescription medicine, vitamins, or dietary supplements, a statistic made more significant by the estimate that six in ten baby boomers will be managing multiple chronic conditions by the year 2030.
A new health and wellness products start-up called Sabi—whose name references the Japanese term connoting serenity and impermanence—has teamed up with the designer Yves Béhar and his firm, Fuseproject, to launch Vitality, a line of accessories that seeks to bring joy and ease to the mundane rituals of a medicated life.
“There is an increasing desire, among people across the age spectrum, to maintain an active lifestyle,” says Assaf Wand, the CEO and founder of Sabi. “Each Sabi product is designed for functionality, but we also pay close attention to the emotional and aesthetic aspects.”
Béhar worked with Sabi for more than a year to develop the nine medication and pill management tools that comprise the Vitality collection, which will be rolled out in retail and online stores in the next few months. With bright blue accents and instructive contours and grooves that allow users to cut, crush, organize, or transport medications with ease, each accessory is named to bring lively associations to daily chores.
A clip-on travel pill case called Holster sounds decidedly more youth-ful than its use, for example, while the Grande Carafe brings a chic quality to a drinking bottle with built-in storage for vitamins and pills. In naming the products, Béhar says his team wanted to apply simple metaphors to reflect the change in lifestyle these products promise. “We wanted to address a huge portion of our population that is often spoken down to, and not addressed in the way that you would speak to someone about a beautiful technological product,” he explains. “I don’t know why it should be any different here.”
By combining the basic principles of universal design with a younger aesthetic and lexicon, the Swiss-born industrial designer hopes to reduce the stigma against aging individuals. “The whole idea was to start with a specific need, and out of that specific need, to create something that everybody else wants,” Béhar says. “I don’t think anybody really believes that products for an aging population or for a population with specific needs shouldn’t be just as exciting as products that are made for children or adults. There’s no reason why there should be, in my opinion, any difference between a Jambox”—referring to the speaker his firm designed for Jawbone last year—“and a pill crusher. My mom loves the Jambox; she’s 74 years old. Why not make a pill crusher that would excite her just as much?”