We were asked to design and build a series of safe and ultra-light sedan chairs for Diamond Cab, a social enterprise that provides wheelchair accessible taxi services. The aim of this project was to create a niche service called 'Diamond Sedan' that would give the disabled access to country parks and outdoor areas that don't allow for wheelchairs. The sedan chairs would also be used in a charity race to raise funds and awareness for Diamond Cab.
- Design and build modern sedan chairs for disabled passengers to access country parks
- Sedan chairs to be safe, lightweight and also suitable for use in a fundraising race.
- Must be produced locally
To learn how to build a sedan chair we interviewed a retired sedan chair bearer, 'Granny Bao', who lives in Lantau and carried passengers from Tung Chung to Tai O in her youth. A round trip of that distance took 3 hours using a traditional chair built of wicker with a bamboo frame.
We adopted the traditional bamboo frame which Granny Bao showed us and created a light chair structure from welded aluminium. This combination of new and traditional materials created a sedan chair that was lighter overall while still retaining the shock absorbing properties of the bamboo, which is naturally springy and flexible. We incorporated seatbelts and cushioning with disabled passengers in mind taking special care to angle the chair backwards slightly to take pressure off the spinal column.
- Get insight from interviewing retired sedan chair bearers
- Combine knowledge, traditional construction and materials with modern materials
- Incorporate orthopedic cushioning and angle chair backwards to take pressure off the passenger's spine
- Source materials locally and fabricate using only local businesses
A total of four chairs were built and the charity race was a success. Today Diamond Cabs are seen all over Hong Kong and Diamond Sedan is still being offered as a unique niche service.