Interior design can have more impact on the visually impaired than on those who see normally, according Jean Bast of the San Diego chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers.
Chapter members have been volunteering their services to redesigning and renovating the San Diego Service Center for the Blind, using techniques and design applications that will transform it into an integrated "way-finding" facility.
Most furnishings are also being donated to the $500,000 renovation of the 8,000-square-foot center. Design applications will include the use of brightly colored accents on walls and floors, improved overhead lighting to reduce glare, lighting in handrails and heavily textured walls, said Jan Bast, the chairman of the ASID design team.
"To call this a center for the blind is somewhat a misnomer, since most of the people utilizing the center are partially sighted," Bast added.
Nearly 80% of the 2,200 people using the San Diego facility are elderly, and design efforts have also gone into special furnishings for that group. For the totally blind, different, heavily textured wall coverings and varying floor surfaces will enhance their ability to find their way.