KI Intellect Classroom Furniture Ask people about their experiences in school, and you‘ll get a variety of reactions: Some will wax nostalgic , while others will shudder with dread. But there's one memory that everyone will share: the discomfort of the classroom furniture they encountered.
The K1 Intellect line of classroom furniture works to eliminate that experience for today's students. By increasing the ergonomic performance of classroom furniture, K1 hopes to reduce the "fidget factor" and increase students' ability to learn.
While ergonomics were a key goal of this line, functionality was equally important-the furniture had to be strong enough to withstand the rough usage it was bound to receive while lightweight enough to be moved easily, even by children. Because it was intended for the preschool through adult school market, it had to be flexible enough to work for a wide variety of body sizes and types.
It had to be nestable and stackable; it also had to be adaptable to today's high-tech classroom, with accommodations made for keyboards, mousepads, and wires. And visually, because classroom furniture isn't replaced very often, "it had to be simple and clean and kind of timeless," says Scott Bosman, an industrial designer at K1.
Initial sketches included a wide array of ideas for chair and leg configuration s. Making the seat and back out of one large piece of plastic turned out to be less cost-effective than separating the two parts. Bending the legs so they crossed under the seat and screwing the shell directly onto the frame proved weaker as well as less distinctive than other solutions.
In the end, the lap desk concept wasn't pursued, but the storage bin was. The drawer holding the book box can also serve as a keyboard tray, further improving the functionality of the desk. The addition of built-in wrist rests and field- installable mousepad s adds both functionality and ergonomics to the desk.
Throughout the process, the furniture underwent K1‘s rigorous safety testing. When the furniture was close to production, prototype s were beta-tested in classrooms near the company’s headquarters in Wisconsin. K1 got feedback on the furniture from students and staff, and the schools got a discount on the furniture.
Early in the process, the team had agreed on ABS plastic for the seat and back-to provide both strength and flexure -and elliptical steel tubing for the legs. But during manufacture, k1 discovered that high-quality, cost-effective manufacturing was more difficult to source than expected. The seats and backs of the chairs produced by KI's vendor in Poland were marred by white marks; K1 eventually bought the mold and produced the ABS parts in-house.
The team invested in an expensive bending machine, But it required a lot of fine-tuning before it would produce What the team envisioned. Welding the cantilever ed seat to the Frame took a lot of trial and error, too. "It was done by hand in the beginning," says Bosman, "but the welds just weren't looking like we wanted them to, so we finally got a robot that would do it very well, and it visually looks very nice and is very strong."
The team's attention to detail has paid off . As Rutter says, "It's all these little details that really convert the experience from just another chair into, 'Wow, I really like this, this is nice stuff,' which has resulted in astronomical sales for K1 in this category ."