TOCCO Collection at Neurodiversity in Business (NiB) Conference

Door hardware collection made of ECONYL® regenerated nylon to design neurodiverse environments

pba celebrated Neurodiversity Week at Neurodiversity in Business (NiB) Conference in London – March, 16 – presenting findings from a recent study that highlights how sensory stimulation and elements in the built environment impact individuals and how to design accordingly to create neuro-inclusive environments. The presentation also highlighted how to design door hardware promotes inclusivity.

How can we accommodate neurodiverse people in the workplace?

All aspects of the space, such as color, lighting, materiality, texture, elements in the field of view and sensory stimuli need to be designed with purpose and intent.

pba collaborated with RainlightSTUDIO and Kay Sargent to deepen our understanding of sensory stimulation in the built environment and how this can impact individuals occupying the space, specifically neurodiverse individuals. Our goal is to offer designers a complete range of door hardware, levers and pulls, giving them the option to choose color and texture to design the most inclusive space for all users.

For pba, talking about inclusiveness today means continuing a conversation started many years ago. Inclusiveness is experienced as a goal and not as a mean; that is the reason why we choose not only the products we believe in, but also the path to share with the people we work with and the companies we create value with in Italy and in the world; a distinct path to walk to get where we choose to be. Inclusiveness is for everyone, it does not identify a specific skill, it does not seek solutions that flatten needs in a vision of “common necessity”, on the contrary it values the beauty, the variety and the uniqueness of people. Only universal values can lay the foundation of such an ambitious building: Inclusiveness, Beauty for all, Responsibility for the choices made on what, with whom and how, and Sustainability. Because we cannot avoid to be sustainable if we truly believe in the “for all” which is the reason why the TOCCO Collection combines everyone and everything.” said Erica Anesi, CEO pba.

TOCCO Collection will debut on May with a capsule hardware collection of levers and pulls that are sustainable, interchangeable and sensory sensitive.

We need to create environments that have an ecosystem of options and choices so people who are neurodiverse can decide the right setting for them at any given time” said Kay Sargent, Neuro-inclusive Design Consultant.

pba with RainlightSTUDIO and Kay Sargent, has issued a Sensory Stimulation Survey to collect data and preferences according to different sensory inputs: The purpose of the survey is to push forward the research on neurodiversity in the built environment.

Previous research show that when asked about the importance of different sensory inputs, people are more sensitive to visual and tactile stimuli (HOK, Tarkett and Genius Within Research). TOCCO Collection was designed specifically to offer designers the possibility to choose the color (visual) and the texture (tactile) of the handles (levers and pulls) to better address the preferences and needs of different users.

To allow all employees to thrive, office designs need to remain fluid and adaptable. Employers can improve employee wellness and productivity by offering a wide range of choices, allowing people to continually select the best space for their individual needs.” said Kay Sargent.

Color has a significant impact on individuals in the built environment. Color has the power to energize, restore, stimulate, calm and even encourage creativity (Browning, 2014). In times of crisis and instability, such as a pandemic, there is an increased need for the comfort and visual nourishment. Natural tones evoke a connection with nature and order and can convey qualities of comfort, calmness, and grounding.

TOCCO Collection offers an infinite range of colors and two different handle grips – smooth and textured – to meet the tactile preference of all users.

Design is an orchestration of all the senses to create a sense of belonging in the moment, and touch is our true connection with reality. The door handle represents the first touch a person experiences with a building, or a room. We look to a more human approach that defies expectation, evoking a welcome sense of wonder.” said Yorgo Lykouria, Creative Principal RainlightSTUDIO.

The TOCCO Collection grip is made of ECONYL®, a regenerated-nylon that can be recycled an indefinite number of times without affecting the quality of the material. The material introduces a warm, welcoming sensation that feels more secure. “We chose to partner with Econyl for the grip component to support the active removal of plastics from the ocean, giving waste materials a new life in a product designed to be recycled again after its life. Everything we do from now on must benefit the planet.” said Yorgo Lykouria.

ECONYL® is made by recycling discarded plastic collected from landfill sites and oceans across the whole planet. Through a process of de-molymerization, purification and then transformation into new polymers and then threads, this material can be recuperated and made into new nylon fabric. The choice of the ECONYL® for the TOCCO collection actively contributes to the reduction of the global warming up to 90% compared to the use of the virgin nylon.

Think about sporting equipment, such as a tennis racket or a golf club. The ‘feel’ of the grip is an important element to ensure a secure grip, warm and comfort to the user. Why should hardware be any different?” said Kay Sargent.

The future is circular: from waste, ECONYL® is infinitely recyclable and can unleash infinite possibilities. TOCCO Collection project represents a commitment to sustainability and truly responsible practices.

Committed to environmental preservation and inclusiveness, because sustainability can’t disregard the centrality of the individual, pba is investing in energy saving projects and is promoting sustainable and inclusive practices within the design industry: the TOCCO Collection is the most recent evidence of pba’s commitment to the company’s founding values.

All we know about designing for inclusion should be applied to every element within the build environment…include the hardware. No detail is too small, as they all impact the experience we have and add to the overall solution.” said Kay Sargent.


pba is the premier brand of AISI 316L stainless steel, the hardest, most resistant and elastic of steels, of polyamide 6, the most noble of thermoplastic resins, of aluminum EN-AW 6, smooth and durable, and of antimicrobial copper. We develop our main themes: door and window levers, pulls and locking pulls, millwork pulls, hands-free pulls, and all the accessories for a “life safe and without barriers”: the Design for All bathroom accessories, and the Hand-Rail collections. We believe that objects reflect a space, embody its attitude, illusions and possibilities; we know that bringing a new form into the world can affect the life of everyone. pba has always collaborated with the most important international designers to develop unique products.

pba products have been featured in the most important projects worldwide: from PIF Tower in Saudi Arabia to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, from San Pellegrino Flagship Store in Italy to The New School University Center in NY, from Radison Blu Hotel in South Africa to ZNB – Zentraler Neubau Haus Klinikum in Stuttgart.

Committed to environmental preservation and inclusiveness, because sustainability can’t disregard the centrality of the individual, pba is investing in energy saving projects and is promoting sustainable and inclusive practices within the design industry.

pba has been nominated with the Red Dot Award for the handle IT.150 and has been awarded for the handle Elica. The lever Elica has also received a nomination for the Compasso D’Oro Award. The locking pull collection KLock has been also nominated for the Compasso D’oro Award. Programma CAP, designed on the concept “to hand the cap” has been awarded with the ADI Ceramics & Bathroom Award and won the third award at Global Future Design Awards. The Everyone Millwork pulls collection competed as finalist for the IDEA award. The Hand Sanitizer Cover collection won the #METROPOLISLIKES NYCXDESIGN and Health Program is an Interior Design magazine NYCXDESIGN awards finalist in the Health + Wellness category. The Platform Series is a Global Future Design Awards Winner.

Kay Sargent, Neuro-inclusive Design Consultant

With more than 38 years of experience, Kay is a recognized expert on workplace design and strategy issues. She is an award-winning designer who has worked with several Fortune 500 companies to optimize their global real estate portfolios and create innovative work environments based on their unique organizational DNA. As Co-Director of HOK’s WorkPlace team, a practice that supports organizations undertaking multiple projects in various locations, and a member of HOK’s Board of Directors, Kay is responsible for helping clients redefine how, when and where their people work, and supports a holistic design approach that integrates an organization’s people, processes, and technology. She was recently selected from her field of peers to provide Congressional Subject Matter Expert Testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives on “Federal Real Estate Post-COVID-19: A View from The Private Sector.”

In 2020 Kay was named ASID’s Designer of Distinction for the year. In 2022 she was inducted into the 2022 SCN Hall of Fame, celebrate contributions to the AV/IT industry. And in 2023 she was awarded Next Frontier of Design award by the International Well Building Institute, IWBI. Kay is considered an industry thought leaders on workplace. She has authored multiple white papers and articles on a variety of design related topics including wellbeing; next gen workforce; technologies impact on the workplace; space fusion and the rise of the human factor.

In 2021 Kay was elected to both the ASID and the IIDA College of Fellows. In 2022 Kay was awarded the IFMA Distinguished Author Awards for her research and whitepapers on Neurodiversity and was awarded the first Melwood Ability Awards – Inaugural Accelerator Award for her efforts to raise awareness about the needs of the Neurodiverse.

Kay currently serves on the National ASID Foundation Research Taskforce, the IWBI Health Equity Advisory Team and the Advisory Board for WorkDesign Magazine and I&S Magazine. She was recently appointed to the University of Richmond Customer Experience Advisory Board after serving two years on the George Washington University Customer Experience Certificate Program Advisory Council. During her career she has also served on the International Boards of CoreNet Global, AVIXA, and IFI – International Federation of Interior Designers /Architects, the Boards of ASID, IIDA and NCQLP and the Advisory Board of Virginia Tech School of Architecture and Design and NVCC. She is an active member of IFMA and co-founder of the IFMA Workplace Evoluntionaries, WE community and serves as an Executive committee for WE. Kay is committed to mentoring the next generation of designers and as such mentors multiple individuals within HOK and across the industry. She is also a Founder of the DC Chapter of UPWARD, a global network dedicated to the professional advancement of women in the workplace.

“We are witnessing the evolution of workplace, and design can be a powerful tool in that endeavor. What designers have always done well, the art of design, is being enhanced with the emerging science of design. By creating environments that support wellbeing, inclusivity and inspire those within them, we can drive powerful outcomes and create spaces that reflect our humanity. We need to design with courage to define the next generation of great places to transform the way we work, live, learn and play. We are no longer just designing environments. We are designing the experience. We need to mentor the next generation of designers to carry the torch forward.”


Rainlight is a highly lauded London based design studio with a global perspective, working with clients across North America, Europe, and Asia. Bringing creative synergy to business with an insight into market drivers, cultural progress, and human values, design becomes a force for positive impact in our lives.

Rainlight’s unique combination of bold, breakthrough ideas coupled with market knowledge and commercial acumen mean the studio is now a trusted partner for some of the world’s leading manufacturers, operating as a both a visionary guide and an extension of the team. Rainlight pushes boundaries and challenges entrenched ways of thinking to unlock new opportunities to lead and shape markets.

Rainlight creates artefacts with now and the future in mind. Driven by an intellectual curiosity and a sense of responsibility, Rainlight finds every opportunity to embed more sustainable approaches at every design stage.

Founder and Creative Principal | Yorgo Lykouria, FRSA (Fellow Royal Society of Arts)

For more than 20 years, Rainlight’s founder and creative principle, Yorgo Lykouria, has created artefacts that inspire people to live imaginatively and courageously in the present. With an extensive career in architecture, interiors and industrial design – across continents and cultures – Lykouria brings an expansive, holistic perspective to any design challenge.

He has received the world’s most prestigious design awards, including, Red Dot Best of the Best, iF awards, German Design Awards, Good Design Awards, and named Product Designer of the year in 2021. “Every project begins with a blank page, a robust exchange of ideas and diligent research. In our work, we create a unique process for every project so that unexpected solutions emerge that solve profound functional and technical challenges and most importantly, create tangible excitement.”

“Lykouria, reintroduces moments of conscious reflection, pleasure and awe into everyday life, turning the prosaic into poetry. From “Industrial Poet.” Simon Cowell, Architectonic.


ECONYL® is a regenerated-nylon that can be recycled an indefinite number of times without affecting the quality of the material. ECONYL® is made of recycling discarded plastic that has been collected from landfill sites and oceans across the whole planet.

The production process:

  • Gathering of waste materials: fishing nets, discarded nylon, carpet and industrial waste are sorted and cleaned to maximize the quantity of recuperated nylon.
  • Regeneration and purification: through a chemical de-polymerization procedure, the nylon waste is recycled right back to its original purity.
  • At production plants in Ljubljana, Slovenia and Arco, Italy, the recycled materials is re-transformed into polymers and threads through a new polymerization process.

For every 10,000 tons of ECONYL® created, 70,000 barrels of petroleum are saved. This reduces environmental emissions of CO2 by 57,100 tons. By choosing to use ECONYL®, the impact of petroleum-fuelled nylon-production on global warming will be reduced by 90%.

For further information:                                                                     #TOCCOCollection