social innovation project

A service design project, using design to better senior lifestyle in Tilst, Denmark

This project resulted in a design solution consisting of 4 elements: A walking route, chairs as markers, a senior organization and a graphic identity.

Our design intentions were to create an open senior community between existing social circles of seniors and to show everyone else how united and active the seniors in Tilst are.

This project was done together with Emily Lin, Simone Foss Brink and Niels Ove Kildahl, at Aarhus School of Architecture / Fall 2014




In collaboration with DemokraCity, we wanted to revitalize Tilst, a small city in Denmark. The area has an unofficial reputation of a "sleeping city". We focused on the senior citizens in the area and we wanted to use design to better senior lifestyle in Tilst.

As an essential part of a social innovation project, we wanted our process to be about co-creation and bottom-up design, where we involve the users during the whole project.



Challenge identification

We organized two workshops during this project and the first workshop was together with four senior activity organizers. They provided great insight and helped us identify the internal network of the senior community. But to our surprise, the seniors in Tilst are the opposite of "sleeping", they are lively and extremely active!



We understood that almost all senior activities were organized by these three activity centres:


During this project, we had 27 meetings and 131 conversations. We used questionnaires, interviews, workshops and were actively participating in activities ourself.

We had identified an extremely active senior community, but observed another problem. There was big tension between the three centers and many seniors found it difficult to navigate between events since no communication was in place. It could also be intimidating to join in as a newcomer, since all three centers were so tight-knitted internally.


Idea workshop

Since this was a bottom-up project, we wanted the users to contribute and feel ownership over the final design solution. We arranged one big idea workshop, with over 35 seniors present, representing all three activity centers. We had four amazing hours of discussing, presenting and even drawing ideas together in mixed groups. When analysing their ideas, they showed that they wished for one collective voice and identity representing the whole local community.

When we went back to our studio, we designed the solution based on the best ideas from the workshop.



Design solution

The result from the research shows a need for a united identity for seniors in Tilst. Using keywords and ideas derived from the workshop, the team conducted a series of concepts which may serve to represent senior presence in Tilst. Our design intentions were to create an open senior community between existing social circles of seniors and to show everyone else how united and active the seniors in Tilst are.

Our final design solution consists of 4 elements:


A walking route

The "Tilst Walk" is a walking route which celebrates specific locations in Tilst of cultural, social, or geographical significance. Visitors are invited to experience Tilst in a different light. "Tilst Walk" is a manifestation of seniors' presence and their active participation of the local community.


Chairs as markers

To draw attention to our project and the active senior community, we painted recycled chairs in the iconic yellow resembling the new identity, and used them as markers of "Tilst Walk" throughout the different chosen locations. It's an invitation to sit and read the folder about the senior organization and learn some interesting facts about that location. The idea of using outdoor seating (chairs in particular) derive from the user group in the idea workshop.


A senior organization

The core element in our design solution, is Senior Liv. It's an organization that we founded, based on the seniors visions from the workshop. The organization will be managed and run by selected representatives from each of the local activity centers. The goal of this organization is to unite and improve communication between different senior community groups, welcome new comers and give spotlight to all the super active seniors in Tilst.

We designer a website, where you can find information about the organization, who to contact and an updated and shared calendar for all senior activities in Tilst, at all three centers. This will make it easier for the seniors to navigate between centers and make less acitivites overlap.


A graphic identity

We felt a need for a new graphic identity that could represent all the seniors in Tilst. It was very important to find a visual language that could appeal to each of the local community centers, without representing one particular group. We used several ideas and inspiration from the seniors, gathered in our idea workshop, in developing the identity and logo.

We have chosen a bright, inviting colour scheme that communicates the seniors' active and youthful attitude.


We reallt want our project to be an initiativ that makes a difference in Tilst. To make it as easy as possible for the representatives to carry on the organization, we made a Starter kit. Both digital, explaining the website, kalendar and the graphic identity thoroughly and with already printed cards and brochures.

As an opening ceremony for the organization, we had the first (to be) annual Tilst Walk. About 25 exited seniors showed up in the rain and we had a fantastic walk together, where they shared their own stories at every stop!