Hideaway (Children's Chair) by Think & Shift Studio
2015 - 2016, Platinum A' Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design Award Winner
The Hideaway chair was inspired by an unfulfilled need in the child care market and a key unique insight gathered at early research stages of the project. Design led child care company New Shoots, approached think & Shift to design a product that would provide children a comforting sense of enclosure in their child care centres. A chair that serves as a space for children to get away from the noise and business of their surrounding environment. The client had previously tried to satisfy this need with existing products and found that no chair on the market would fulfil their specific requirements, stand up to the rigors of a child care environment and give them a point of difference in their centres. The chair was required to befit, visually, the New Shoots brand, be safe, comfortable and user friendly for children and carers alike and be produced in NZ with natural materials and a sustainable approach. To answer this challenging and unique brief, our designers first spent time at the child care centres observing children’s interaction with furniture and learning the requirements of children and their carers first hand. Key insights around ergonomics and the feeling of comfort were discovered at this point, which inspired much of our design solution. We discovered evidence which backed up our intuition that children do not sit the same way adults do. This explained why existing chairs did not fill the requirements of the brief. We noted that when given the opportunity, children in the centres sit upside-down, side-ways, curled up in a ball, with their friends, by themselves, with a blanket, on their knees, on their backs... Just about every way they can sit, other than the up-right, straight-backed position that adult chairs force them into. We therefore concluded that what was required was not a scaled down version of a ‘comforting’ adult’s chair, but a whole new approach to ergonomics and the feeling of comfort.
The Hideaway Chair provides children with a comforting sense of enclosure; a place to rest that is private, relaxing and quite. The Hideaway chair’s spherical form provides enclosure, for visual and audio privacy, as well as an invitation for children to sit in which ever fashion makes them feel most relaxed. The Chair is uncommonly low to the ground, suggesting to children that it for them, not for adults. Gaps between each bent ply section allow dirt and liquids to fall through and each upholstered panel is fixed to the chair using clips that allow them to be easily removed for cleaning or replacement. Additionally, the chair can be easily broken down to fit into a small box for more efficient and sustainable shipping. Visually the chair needed to fit New Shoots high design aesthetic. It’s unique curving front profile and faceted side profile give it the contemporary look required. All materials used are extremely hard wearing to survive the harshness of child care as well as being clearly natural and high quality.
Design Challenges
Think & Shift Studio did not encounter any design challenges while designing the award winning Hideaway Children's Chair.
Production Technology
The Hideaway Chair is a molded ply wood and upholstered chair, with an encompassing spherical shell, made up of four swooping semi circular sections The Hideaway Chair is made from cold molded New Zealand Pine plywood, natural New Zealand Tawa wood veneer, 80% New Zealand wool upholstery fabric, black powder coated steel brackets and award winning New Zealand innovation ‘Fast Mount’ removable clips. The Hideaway chair is completely New Zealand made using sustainable materials and processes that align with the clients ethical production values. The Hideaway Chair is the first furniture product in the world to be awarded Stage 1 Child Labour Free Certification.
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