Compiled by Jenna Lippin and Kadie Yale
Designing for the Future of Sit-Stand
CSULB students conceptualize the next generation of office furniture for OM.
In February, office furniture company OM once again collaborated with California State University Long Beach (CSULB) to give senior
product design students a taste of real-world problems they may
face after graduation. For the second year, students in the Senior
Studio course were given three weeks to develop a solution for users’
growing desire for sit-stand products.
Each student presented their final product to a judging panel
which included OM’s president, Wilson Chow, and interiors+sources
Editor-in-Chief Kadie Yale.
The projects were judged on their solution to the environment which
the students defined—e.g., educational facilities, workplace, etc.—
their ability to encourage the user to move from sitting to standing or
perching, whether it can be mass-produced, and overall aesthetic.
Of the 25 entries, three students
received awards: Rene Zavala (first
place), Karoline Davidian (second
place), and Devon Encheff (third place).
“This year’s concept was a real
challenge,” said Max Beach, Senior
Studio instructor and principal of
Linespace. He teaches the course
alongside Chris Collins, fellow
instructor and principal of Cubed
Design. “The industry itself hasn’t
mastered the sit-stand solution, so
our students had to not only invent
a way of thinking about a product but also practice their ability to
translate an idea into three dimensions, make it workable, and present
it in a visually compelling manner. As a teacher, I hope my students
will prove their command of fundamental design processes and tools
and show me they’re able to express an original point of view. The
three students recognized by our panel clearly accomplished that.”
The first-place design by Zavala, “Tilt,” uses a revolving mechanism
to allow the user nine unique positions. Using sketches then modeling
his design, Zavala was able to work out any issues in the project.
“I developed some quick cardboard scale models to look at the
movements and the pivot points," Zavala explained. “From these, I
chose a final direction and created a 1:1 scale mock-up using plywood
to get a ‘feel’ for the mechanism and the dimensions [of] the chair.”
For both OM and the students at CSULB, the hands-on approach to
the project is an important aspect of teaching and learning about design.
“We’ve been looking forward to returning to CSULB for Design
Co-Lab 2.0,” Chow said. “These students have a raw energy that
encourages us to think in unexpected ways. It’s also gratifying to share
what we know and watch the light bulb go on for students who either
didn’t know how fascinating chairs can be or who were recognizing
how their ideas can translate into successful business solutions. The
best way to help students develop the skills they need for the future is
to give them these practical opportunities. All of us at OM are privileged
to be a part of the education of these future designers.”
Of the design challenge, Davidian—who took home an OM5
Executive chair for her second-place win—said, “I am happy with the
great experience it has been. I’m glad I had the opportunity to have
a part in this and hope to continue to have relationships with all the
people I got to meet.”
Encheff added, “The feedback was great. I really felt like my ideas
were communicated and that’s what it’s all about in this area of study.
This panel in particular was very well versed in their field and areas of
expertise so there was a huge value to hearing the responses.” His
third-place project won him an OM5 Active chair.
You can expect to see Zavala on the floor during NeoCon. “This
competition has opened another door for me by getting me in touch
with the OM team and winning a trip to Neocon,” he said. “This will be
a great experience for me as a designer because I will be in contact
with the latest and greatest designs within this show.”
OM’s president, Wilson Chow, and interiors+sources
Editor-in-Chief Kadie Yale reviewing students’
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