Research Centre
Art and Design Research Centre


Investigation into cultural use of bathrooms

Funded by the British Council’s Turkey – UK Knowledge partnership programme this project is a collaboration between Lab4Living at the Art and Design Research Centre (ADRC) at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), UK and design researchers at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) Department of Industrial Product Design, Turkey in partnership with VitrA, part of the Eczacibasi Group, one of the largest industrial conglomerates of Turkey.

The aim of the project was to

  • further our knowledge within the context of the cultural use of bathrooms
  • support, through informed product design, quality independent living in response to the health agenda and increase potential for innovative solutions to social need

This would be achieved through the following

  • a series of participatory workshops linked to the field lab/exhibition to further develop our understanding of the value of user participation (co-design) and multi-disciplinary R&D cooperation
  • the full integration of VitrA personnel as both active researchers and stakeholder in the programme. VitrA would also contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the role of industry in R&D and build our capacity to facilitate transformation of research into products and services
  • the study would engage participation of interdisciplinary senior and junior researchers, students, users and industry that would help develop appropriate human resource to create a community at ITU (Lab4Living type) for innovation and knowledge transfer as well as inform curriculum development. This would contribute significantly to the project's sustainability


  • through the proposed programme of work and 'events' linked to the high profile field lab exhibition we aimed to increase the potential for impact in the following areas
  • through a cultural exchange help academia and industry in the UK and Turkey better understand the local and specific needs of society
  • the development of a methodology to increase the potential for applied research within academia in Turkey that would help change the balance of basic research to applied research
  • through applied research increase opportunity for commercial income through better informed, usable and desirable products for an ageing consumer both in the UK and Turkey
  • by developing a model for HE and industrial collaboration that could be adopted by and impact upon other sectors of industry both in the UK and Turkey

The project has led to ongoing collaboration with VitrA utilising user-centred methodologies for engagement to inform their future product development. This research led to the UK Over 50s Housing Awards 2017 Award for Most Innovative Design in the UK. Find our more on the C3RI Impact Blog.

Document downloads

Loolab British Council report (PDF, 1.6MB) (PDF, 1663KB)

Researchers involved

Professor Paul Chamberlain - Co-Director C3RI, Head of Art and Design Research Centre, Director of Lab4Living and Director of Design Futures
Heath Reed - Principal Industrial Designer, Design Futures

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