What's the Latest Development?
Irish industrial designer Simon Dennehy has created a line of classroom furniture, Ray, that is growing in popularity in parts of Germany, England and Scandinavia because it forces students to use their muscles in "micro-movements" throughout the day. The chair's seat is flexible, tilting the sitter's pelvis downward and requiring them to open their legs in order to balance. The desk tilts up, bringing the students closer to their work without their having to hunch over it.
What's the Big Idea?
Ergonomic considerations are common in office settings but are hardly used in schools, which is one reason why Dennehy's firm, Perch, decided to focus on that market. He got some of his ideas for "the perfect chair" from schoolkids themselves, who offered, among others, sofa-like padding and under-chair fridges. One thing everyone could agree on was that traditional classroom furniture was very uncomfortable. The Ray line is produced by a Danish company and because it was originally targeted towards Scandinavian schools, it currently costs more than most American schools can afford. However, a mid-cost version is being sold in the UK, and Perch is working on creating an even less expensive line.
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