Celebrating 30 Years of ADA – Article Feature

September 10, 2020

Celebrating 30 Years of ADA – Article Feature

Article Feature in
“Business of Home”

Celebrating 30 years of ADA – and its impact on the home industry
We were pleased to be included in Business of Home’s article about the ground-breaking legislation that was passed 30 years this August. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA), brought respect to a population that had previously been under-served, particularly in the area of building and home design. The aging population is the fastest-growing demographic right now, and so many of our products are designed to help people not only “Age in Place”, but “Age with Grace and Style.”
Please read the excerpt below featuring quotes from Bob Gifford or click the following link to read the complete article posting:

That effort has been aided by beautifully designed, ADA-compliant products coming onto market, blurring the line between “accessible” and high-style options. One of the companies at the helm of this revolution is Hastings Tile & Bath, a New York–based brand that built its reputation paving the walkways around Central Park before moving into the kitchen and bath industry in the 1970s. “How do you get something that meets the standards, but is still designed with an aesthetic? That’s a big challenge,” says Bob Gifford, the company’s director of business development. In recent years, though, he has seen an explosion of new solutions—elegant grab bar offerings that don’t scream “shopping mall bathroom,” for example, or sinks and vanities with roll-under capabilities (which means the counter has to be 27 inches tall and at least 32 inches wide). Many of the company’s new products and materials are ADA compliant, even if they aren’t advertised that way. “In the past five years, new materials came onto the market that allow designers to get a more attractive look and customize it,” says Gifford.

The pursuit of accessible design solutions is not always easy, though, he acknowledges. The ADA’s priorities when it comes to interior specifications, like counter heights and hallway widths, reflect a decidedly American perspective on what equality and access mean. On sourcing trips to Europe, Gifford often noticed that manufacturers across the pond valued different pieces of the accessibility puzzle—or weren’t thinking about it at all. “It’s a cultural difference, and the concerns [about accessibility] aren’t as strong [in Europe] as they are here,” he says. In his travels, Gifford found that Danish manufacturers and product designers are often the most like-minded when it comes to designing ADA-compliant bathroom fixtures and finishes.