Co-design for dementia with Men’s Shed charity

This project builds on the relationship between LAUGH and Squirrel’s Nest Men’s Shed in Tondu. Men’s Shed is an organisation that supports the mental health of men in the community through making and craft practice.  Squirrel’s Nest have collaborated with LAUGH to help develop a playful object for a person with advanced dementia.

Funded by the Gwanwyn Festival (Age Cymru) and Fab-cre8 (Cardiff School of Art and Design), the ‘Open Doors’ project brought members of the Men’s Shed to experience FabLab Cardiff and the new technologies used in developing our range of LAUGH playful objects.  During this visit we co-created a new playful object that combines the hand craft expertise from the Men’s Shed with the digital fabrication available at FabLab.  A short video was made to show this collaboration.


LUMA is an interactive hand-held crafted wooden object.  When activated, a central tube that is decorated with laser cut garden bird silhouettes is illuminated.

As the outer turned wooden ring of LUMA slides along the tube, the internal lights change colour and bird song sounds are activated.  Small speakers are contained in the two wooden end pieces.  The object is rechargeable.

The object was designed for a gentleman living with advanced dementia who had become withdrawn, apathetic and bored.  LUMA was designed to be pleasing to hold and aimed to stimulate his interest via the potential to modify light, colour and sound with ease.  The design concept was stimulated by the idea of feeding the birds in the garden and references the shape of a peanut bird feeder.