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#NTUDI Product Design Student Showcase Spotlight: Ella Maisie Stephenson

Today’s Spotlight piece features BA (Hons) Product Design student Ella Maisie Stephenson.

abode by Ella Maisie Stephenson, BA (Hons) Product Design
abode by Ella Maisie Stephenson, BA (Hons) Product Design

While we are deeply disappointed that the summer degree show is unable to go ahead as planned, we are excited that the NTU Design Industries' (NTUDI) Product Design Online Student Showcase will launch on Friday 19 June 2020.

In the run up to the launch of the virtual event, will be sharing a series of student projects from across our BA (Hons) Product Design, BSc (Hons) Product Design and BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design courses through #NTUDI Spotlights.


abode is the first assisted shaving experience for the National Health Service, highlighting the importance of personal care practices in enhancing patient dignity and providing a wide range of benefits to our cherished NHS.

The NHS is one of our most treasured services, supporting the UK since 1948. Our nurses provide round the clock support and deal with over 1 million patients every 36 hours. Now, abode is giving back.

With the ageing population, the NHS is more under pressure than ever. Personal daily care practices are becoming neglected as staff prioritise the vital health needs of patients. This dehumanises the hospital experience and can lead to patients feeling unkept; having detrimental impacts to their mental health. Staff have less time to perform practices, such as patient shaving and little to no training is provided. abode helps identify inefficiencies in the current system and educates the ‘best practice’.

Currently, nurses deal with inadequate equipment; using up to 4 disposable razors per shave, alongside poor-quality shaving foam. Not only is this system inefficient and physically straining for the nurses, it increases the likelihood of cuts, risking infection.

abode by Ella Maisie Stephenson, BA (Hons) Product Design
Informative prints with user-friendly iconography, helps explain the process

Nurses agree that patients appear “visibly uplifted” after a shave, however, current shaving practices are unsatisfactory. There are many cultural and social connotations with shaving and cleanliness, it can also be a representation of masculine identity. Physical contact when shaving can be therapeutic; shown to stimulate the release of oxytocin, encouraging patient-nurse bonding. Studies show close correlations between mental health and patient recovery time, which can reduce hospital length of stay.

As a brand, abode strives to enhance patient well-being practices for both nurses and patients. abode’s give-back scheme uses a portion of profits generated from the home range to create an affordable NHS range.

The collection looks at holistically enhancing the experience with usability at the core. The reusable metal razor improves shaving techniques and the short handle enables access under the chin to immobile patients. The easy-clean ‘pinch’ attachment complies with medical standards and the ergonomic form facilitates a high-quality safety blade.

The dual function wash bowl has an island for lathering shaving cream, creating a mess-free solution. This combines contemporary design with traditional barbershop experiences, using durable plastic for the NHS and a ceramic edition for the home. Complimenting the bowl, a disposable sponge, infused with shaving cream solution enhances the lather. The soft sponge creates a therapeutic experience for the patients; whilst the home range includes a ceramic shaving brush and a cork tray.

Informative prints with user-friendly iconography, helps explain the process of assisted shaving to inspire confidence within the care community. Alongside the product range, an emotive poster campaign provokes discussions around the importance of personal care practices for patient dignity.

Ella explained: “With my mother facing the demanding role of a nurse, I wanted to design something to help improve their daily working lives. Patient shaving stood out to me as an unexplored problem with the potential of a high impact solution.

“Having stumbled across an article about the importance of shaving, I was inspired to continue perusing this undisclosed topic. Naturally, I enjoy finding creative solutions for complex problems to make a difference, so tackling this project from an objective perspective tested me as a designer.”

Ella Maisie Stephenson

Find out more about the NTU Design Industries' Virtual Student Showcase on our website and follow @NTUDI on Instagram for all the latest updates.

Published on 10 June 2020
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Current students; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment