Stork was intentionally made to be soft and playful for my newborn nephew, Stone. I wanted to create a casual space where he could play, study, and grow with this furniture. I believe kids should have objects around them that seem whimsical, almost coming out of a storybook, to inspire them to dream bigger.
The design originally began as a chair meant to transform elementary school classrooms into more free-flowing and collaborative spaces. Today, Stork's can flock together to create casual workspaces in offices, coffee shops, schools, and homes.
Stork was born from the original question: How would a kid reimagine their learning experience?
Stork is the result of looking into current day seating and the pain points associated with fixed table seating typically found in classrooms. In the elementary school's typically found in the US, the tables and chairs are either grouped into pairings of four or each table is spaced out from one another in a factory-like grid. Students should experience the 6Cs, critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, communication, connectivity, and culture. When we think about the future of education as a flexible and inspiring, the literal classroom and furniture it's composed of should follow the same mentality.
Stork is the result of the harmonization of two forms. The pouf provides kids and teachers with a comfortable plush seat to call home. The pouf provides someone with 4 directions of sitting. The beak is a smooth, robust form that articulates, providing the user with a desk that can conform to their ever-changing seating position.
Stork began with a deep dive into classroom culture and current and past interior designs. I built a handful of cardboard full-scale mockups that provided a strong sensibility for what the final design could be. I began with two volumetric cardboard mockups. One is a modular seat that featured a side slit that could afford adaptors like backrests, personal tables, and pockets. The other mockup was an early version of Stork with a small personal table and a cylinder seat. After testing these mockups I realized that the modular seat would have a storage problem. For a space like a classroom, it's more likely that the seats would be preconfigured as opposed to changed daily by the students. With my other mockup, I wanted to push the human factors further. I made 3 more cardboard full-scale mockups pushing the ergonomics and human factors of the Stork stool. I made the pouf soft and plush like, added a squircle as the main form for the seat and made the articulating table larger and wider so it can be used with standard-sized 8.5"x11" sheets of paper.
The final chair version was made exactly to how it would be made for manufacturing. I built a ribbed plywood structure, cnc'd white ash, and worked with an upholsterer to get the pouf wrapped with wool.
Stork is a simplification of the industrial style classroom desk setup we are accustomed to today. The future classroom is about collaboration, flexibility, and sharing experiences with one another. The birdlike stool, therefore, provides kids and teachers with a moveable, highly adjustable seat to freely move and study on.
Stork resembles the form and proportions of a large bird, making it a joyful experience to sit and play on. The chair, when sat on, is comfortable and one instantly attaches themselves to it. The connection to nature is a necessity for the classroom. The vibrant colors and combinations of colors provide the kids with a feeling of ownership and love for the individual chairs. They are no longer a grid of boring chairs but a flock of colorful birds. With two full-scale, fully function mockups built, the next logical step would be working with a manufacturer or licensing the design to get it made so that it can truly be used for it's intended purpose in the classroom.