Design of Furniture for the Informal Learning Environments : Development of an inclusive furniture for Next Education in collaboration with Kinnarps AB
Sammanfattning: The learning environment is one of our most important workplaces. It is mainly a workplace for students, but also teachers and other staff. It is the environment that these people are surrounded by every day, which makes the physical environment and physical products really important. The educational methods have changed over time, and the physical environment needs to be adapted to today’s learning methods to support and improve learning, and meet the new needs that arise. This Master Thesis is the final part of the Master Programme in Industrial Design Engineering at Luleå University of Technology. The work was carried out in spring 2020, in collaboration with the Swedish furniture company Kinnarps AB, based on their concept Next Education. Next Education is one of Kinnarps three concepts, where they offer interior design solutions focusing on the future learning environments. The work has aimed to develop a furniture concept proposal for the informal learning environments, focusing on secondary and upper secondary school, to enhance the learning experience and utilize these areas more efficiently. The project has been divided into three phases, Inspiration, Ideation, and Implementation, a user-centered design process with inspiration from IDEO (2015). The work had an open starting point, where the first phase aimed to visit different schools, from elementary school to upper secondary school, to explore needs and development potential. Observations at the various schools, combined with interviews, survey, and benchmarking were significant parts of the first phase. After that, the work could be directed to a more defined goal and Mission Statement. The Mission Statement was:“Design an inclusive furniture that encourages movement and variation for the secondary and upper secondary school spaces in-between.” The second phase involved developing ideas through creative methods and resulted in three concepts. After feedback and discussions, the final concept could be selected and was progressed to the final Implementation phase, where the concept was further developed. The final concept proposal was then modeled in CAD and visualized through renderings. The work resulted in a modular concept that is both environmentally friendly and inclusive (considering cognitive disabilities), which also contributes to informal learning and improved behavior. The concept, named LeanPod, is a wall-mounted furniture that offers both a screened study place and a support to lean against during short breaks or while waiting. It also has good sound-absorbing properties. Besides, it encourages more standing, which contributes to more variety and better ergonomics. The concept, which is designed with a focus on informal learning environments, contributes to a new way of seeing and using the learning environment. The concept leads to informal learning, that can be used for both self-study as well as an extension of the classroom. It contributes to an approach that learning happens in different areas and utilizes the spaces more efficiently.
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