PARAFREE is a lightweight carbon wheelchair made for everyday heroes
Offering users with paraplegia a stylish way to workout, the PARAFREE is a sleek and minimalist solution offering toolless customisation.
A wheelchair should add to your freedom and independence; it should enable your comfort and well-being.
Wheelchairs shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all affair and up until just recently, that has been the problem.
Thankfully, in response to heavy depot-style designs, a new generation of designers have taken the disruptive approach of rethinking them altogether.
One of those designers is Felix Lange, whose PARAFREE concept was conceived as an athletic lifestyle product, developed as a wheelchair for workouts and everyday life.
PARAFREE is about creating a training and daily wheelchair developed for paraplegics and active drivers with high expectations
Designed to encourage confidence and enable an active lifestyle, PARAFREE combines modularity and user-friendliness in a simple design.
An all-in-one wheelchair with a quick-release system enables toolless customisation thanks to different front slide-ins and personalised add-ons.
The minds behind PARAFREE – Langefreunde Design Studio
The PARAFREE wheelchair is based on the dissertation of Felix Lange who realised the concept back in 2011.
Today, a team of three designers work on the product:
- graphic designer Jannis Beims, who manages the 2D design
- graduate designer Laura Mikoleit, who focused on the 3D design
- Felix Lange, who manages the studio overseeing the entire project
Based in Schwerin, together they form Langefreunde Design Studio, a German design studio whose debut product is the PARAFREE wheelchair.
Materials and techniques – Carbon
Made from carbon, the PARAFREE wheelchair comprises a lightweight 900g monocoque frame that keeps its structure using geometries similar to those of a bicycle.
It comes with several different surface finishes and offers full functionality with maximum ease of use.
Meanwhile, seat shells and backrests are available in several different sizes ensuring optimal fit for the user.
At the base of the chair a robust, yet ultra-light footrest is fitted to the individual height of the lower-legs.
Calf straps, extra thin pedals and rubber-coated grip skin are all optional if users want extra support.
We are seeing extensive research and innovation in wheelchair design: this is the robotic wheelchair created by Centaur.
Style & Aesthetics – Sleek & Minimal
In both three-wheel and four-wheel models, the PARAFREE retains a sleek and minimal appearance thanks to its lightweight and streamlined monocoque frame.
Marrying form and function, its simple design incorporates the seat as part of the core structure resulting in an incredibly supportive and comfortable solution.
While the standard design is showcased in black, the frame can be ordered in a wide range of colours and surface finishes.
At the centre of the PARAFREE concept is customisation, remarkably convenient thanks to exchangeable core elements working underneath the parashell, which itself is available in six different sizes.
With a simple single-hand motion and PARAFREE’s smart ‘pivot point’ axle, users can easily change between two driving modes.
Sport engages users in an active driving experience thanks to a forward tilting position while the decreased slope of Relax mode offers increased comfort and stability.
Furthermore, customisable pivot cambers allow users to quickly adjust the angle of the wheels, choosing between 0°, 3° or 7° at any time.
All of this is achieved with modular slide-ins and adapters that make PARAFREE extremely easy and straightforward to handle.
Design memento – Developed alongside physicians, therapists and patients
What’s impressive about PARAFREE is the way in which it was developed.
Starting out as a diploma project of Lange in 2011, the concept was then put through rigorous testing, engaging physicians, therapists and patients whose feedback helped inform the final design.
The writer’s comment – PARAFREE is modular, dynamic and pioneering
Approaching the design of a wheelchair as if it were a lifestyle product is a clever way of making it desirable.
It elevates the wheelchair to a level of importance it deserves.
I like how PARAFREE reflects the trends shaping the latest technology, architecture and fashion.
Modularity, customisation and simplicity are common expectations across all aspects of life and no better expressed than in the design of something as conducive to quality of life than a wheelchair.
Creating more and more inclusive designs is a goal for many designers, and Sense Five by WertelOberfell is leading the competition.