Designing the 21st Century Classroom
These days, if you walk into a classroom with fixed rows of desks and chairs, you’re probably in a museum. As education becomes more collaborative and technology becomes increasingly essential, fixtures and furnishings have to evolve, too.
Although the educational model is changing, all learning spaces still require two things: tables and chairs. But how those furnishings are designed and configured is always evolving. Today’s educational settings must accomodate more social interactions than in the past, as well as new technological requirements.
When furniture designer Brian Kane taught a design class several years ago, he noticed that students today “don’t really sit in a chair. They sprawl. They lie. They perch. With their MP3 players and computers, they can be totally tuned out in a busy environment as long as they’re comfortable.” When Herman Miller asked Kane to design lounge furniture for them, he recalled the students in his class and “tried to respond to that form-wise, with ‘swooping’ curves that people can throw their arms or legs over and still be comfortable and well-supported.” The solution? The Swoop line, now used in over 50 university settings.
Today learning can and does happen everywhere. Our world is becoming more mobile and more connected every day. One furniture manufacturer designing solutions to these challenges in education is Bretford. Bretford’s EDU2.0 line is designed so that everything fits and works together. Each piece is built for mobility and many components feature built-in power ports. A far cry from the one room schoolhouse of the past.
Designers face unique challenges in the educational setting. Like good students, the best designers will always ask, listen, and observe to come up with the best answers.
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