'The Present'_Reflection by Eujeen Hwang

Designing in the context of health and wellbeing has always been an interest of mine. Doing my project with the DHW Lab was a valuable design experience for me. Especially being able to design  in the field of dementia.

Having lost my family member to dementia made this project a very emotional one for me and it had acted as a motivational push for me. 

The design process was a challenge as usual. One side of me wanting to jump to conclusions and the other side knowing there is more possibilities in it. The feedback I got from DHW Lab team and my lecturers helped me push on, because they also knew there could be more done. When I decided to just let go of that final product image in my head, it was the scariest decision I made in a long time. My previous design which I called it to be final had so many areas that just didn’t seem right aesthetically and functionally, such as adjustable aluminium body with a wooden handle. The proportion of it also was disturbingly unsatisfying. Accepting that, and taking on board the feedback from DHW Lab crew required so much courage but I never regretted that decision. I gained trust in the design process and have become so sure of the “fail often and fast so you can succeed sooner” (-Tom Kelly).

I learnt that there is only a rough road to the design process but that makes it even more rewarding at the end.

I believe the result of my concentrated effort was rewarding. I used academic research on dementia to inform my dual purpose walking cane design, which allowed me to produce a product that considers many of the complexities associated with dementia.

The making process was rough, my plan didn’t go as I expected, I was denied access to machines such as CNC. Therefore my walking cane was 100% handmade. From the hand-making process I learnt so much in achieving a high quality, detail focused process. It was hard but worth it.

For further improvement, it would make sense to embed several more magnets on the wooden ball so that picking up process with the stick (with magnet also embedded) is much easier for the dementia patients. This would be necessary as for some patients it was distressing for them when they cannot pick it up immediately.

For further improvements in my next project (graduation project) I will get on with the design process, especially prototyping widely throughout the whole project. There is NO end to design!

Designing with the  DHW Lab was so valuable for my learnings and it was amazing to be designing in the context of health and wellbeing, which I always wanted to attempt. Thank you to the DHW Lab crew and my lecturers who pushed me on, thanks to my Dementia design team mates/friends/family for the moral support.  Last but not least, a huge thank-you to my granny who made this project more meaningful to me. Miss you heaps. 

I hope 'the present' will be the present for all dementia patients and their families :)

Medical Illustrations

Illustrator Emma Scheltema has had some great success this year with implemented designs both at Auckland Hospital and abroad. She has worked with explaining 'Cast Care' and 'Bone Remodelling' to children and their parents at Starship Orthopaedics Outpatients. 


Emma's illustrations were also featured in the European Medical Journal, describing different types of heart surgeries called 'Fontan Procedures.' Take a look at some example of her work:


DHW Lab Open HOME_ 7 December 2016


Hello, friends of the DHW Lab!

We invite you to our open day showcasing how design has been quietly growing in Auckland City Hospital through our designers and postgraduate students.

The open day is to showcase our 2016 postgraduate students and the work DHW Lab has been doing over the past year. This is an opportunity to exchange and develop ideas, and to contribute to the future of design in healthcare.

Date:  Wednesday 7th December 2016

Time:  Drop in anytime between 7am – 5pm

Location:  DHW Lab, CEC Level 5, Building 32, Auckland City Hospital

Please RSVP by Tuesday 6th December 2016.

For any questions and to RSVP, please email us at hello@dhwlab.com

We can’t wait to share our work with you!

The team at DHW Lab.

The Best of the Best

Last Friday night the team glammed up and headed out to the Best Awards.

The lab was stoked to be finalist this year in four categories: graphic design, product design,  public good and interactive design.

After a couple of months of anticipation it was finally time to find out who the best of the best were!

We are so excited and proud to announce how awesome our students did!

Charlotte Dickson's children’s book ‘Lin Breaks her Arm’ was awarded bronze on the night. This was the only student project under public good that was a winner in its category.

Our resident boss cat, Eden Short’s student project‘ Wayfinding for healthcare seeking’ won a silver award in graphic design.

We can’t forget Antonio Wan, with his three piece suit looking pretty dashing on the night. He took home a gold pin for his design “The Little Ones” that he did for his honours project last year. He is currently working on his masters project. Can’t wait to see how it does!

Congratulations to all our students! We are incredibly proud of all your hard work. Also thanks for all the support our students have received to help them towards this great achievement.  

Come study with us!


There are plenty of real world postgraduate research project opportunities for motivated and creative students. Get in touch if you would like an opportunity to research in a collaborative and supportive interdisciplinary space, and help transform society through design.

We have exciting research opportunities for design, health, engineering and computing students who are interested in the Design for Health space.

Want to know more? Email us at dhwlab@gmail.com.