From 22 to 27 August, the Baltsenior* project organized a trip for Art Academy of Latvia (AAL) teachers and students to the Danish and Finnish capitals to visit public outdoor spaces and interiors specially adapted for the elderly together with the project partners and to discuss the project's achievements and further activities.

In Copenhagen, in the municipality of Frederiksberg, together with Fleming Anders Overgart, co-owner of the “Keingart” architectural firm, the AAL group visited the “Domus Vista” area:

Domus Vista” is a large living space, where architects work to adapt the area for seniors and people with disabilities, so that this group of people integrates into society together with people of different ages - including young people and children. "The environment is organized as a whole, people of different ages who perform different activities meet here. There is a library, café, shopping center, gymnasiums and entertainment venues with cultural areas, gardens and benches nearby. A major challenge in this project is the cooperation between the public and private sectors in the creation and financing of public space. The outdoor space is a place of meeting and communication, so the environment must be created multifunctional ", the architect emphasized during the conversations.

A visit to the House of Danish Disability Organizations in Hoje-Taastrup with Marie Margret Holts, Physical Accessibility and Disability Adviser “Handicappens Hus" was also held:

The Danish House of Disability Organizations is considered one of the most accessible office buildings in the world. It is based on the principles of universal design, so it can be used by everyone, including people with disabilities.

Some examples of good practice - skylight glazing provides good daylight by reducing electricity consumption; each of the four office wings of the house has its own color, which facilitates orientation; clear signs with colors; Braille makes it easier for visually impaired people to navigate; possibility to call the elevator with a foot or a wheelchair wheel; a large, non-level car park facilitates access for people with physical disabilities; plastic handles that do not burn and are not cold so as not to cause muscle cramps, etc

A visit to the Oodi Library building in Helsinki, where a meeting was held with the Baltsenior project partners from the Satakunta University of Applied Sciences - Anja Poberznik and Ryann Deloso. AAL students presented what they have done together with the seniors of Sigulda folk applied studies in the summer co-creation workshops with the concept of a senior as a zero waste initiator to hone the ideas created during the new academic year and participate in the international Milan design fair, in the design school pavilion “Salone del Mobile. Milano 2022”.

Several other public outdoor and indoor spaces were visited: the Danish Architecture Center, Superkilen Public Park in the Nørrebro district of Copenhagen, the Helsinki Concert Hall, and the Bryga Shopping Center with a large public terrace/park on the roof, and other examples of good practice which provided the AAL group with valuable insights into various specific solutions that make the daily lives of older people easier. We wish for the students to turn this experience into functional design solutions!

Lecturer Irēna Andrejeva, lecturer of the Department of Textile Art, Liene Jākobsone, lecturer of the Design Department, students Charlotte Bashkevica, Ella Mihailova, Dace Grīnberga, Maruta Konceviča, Una Valtere, and Beatrise Lasmane went to Helsinki and Copenhagen to get acquainted with the public spaces. The visits together with the project partners were organized by the AAL Project and Development Department team Vineta Kreigere and Jānis Gailītis, as well as the Public Relations Manager Laura Ozola.

* The trip took place as a part of the project Baltsenior - European Union Interreg Baltic Sea Region (BSR) transnational cooperation program project No. R081 BaltSe@nioR2.0.

Since 2011, the Art Academy of Latvia has been participating in the projects of the European Union's Interreg Baltic Sea Region Transnational Cooperation Program as a project partner.

From 2011 to 2013, the AAL was involved in one of the five “StarDust” pilot projects “Comfort in Living”, which aimed to develop products that ensure the quality of life for the growing senior population in the Baltic Sea region.

From 2016 to 2019, project No. R030 BaltSe@nioR (Innovative solutions to support BSR companies in the production of products to improve the quality of life and safety of seniors at home) aimed to develop recommendations for entrepreneurs working to create new products or improve existing products for the main target group - future seniors.

From 2019 to 2021, the AAL participates in the European Union Interreg Baltic Sea Region (BSR) Transnational Cooperation Program project No. R081 BaltSe@nioR2.0 (Innovative solutions for providing a senior-friendly public environment on the basis of capacity building of BSR companies and public institutions).

Within the framework of the projects, AAL students and lecturers have created pilot projects within the framework of a special composition, in which they studied the target audience and developed innovative and convenient solution ideas for the improvement of the living space of elderly people in the Baltic Sea region. The pilot projects involve academic, business and public sectors. The work has taken place both in the AAL and in international creative workshops together with students, lecturers and entrepreneurs of art and design universities of partner countries. The results of the project have been presented at exhibitions and conferences in Latvia, Poland, Denmark and Sweden.