“Instead of designing for users, think also of designing for designers” (Doorley & Witthoft, p.236). We want students to be active designers of spaces based on the learning task given them. And, for a while now, we have wanted to add some soft seating to the Learning Commons.
In keeping with both objectives, and our desire to make the space flexible, we ordered Backjack floor chairs (which I originally saw at Cranston School in Calgary), and soft cubes, cylinders, and triangular prisms. Children can easily move these around to set up work areas that suit their needs.
“Pair the comfort of your chairs with the intent of your activity. Launch a collaborative session with dynamic seats – for example, the Foam Cubes – and graduate into more comfortable seats for longer activities that might require more sustained attention and singular focus” (Doorley & Witthoft, p. 162). The soft seats can be used for small group collaborations in which we want to set a time limit. The Backjack chairs can be used for more relaxed reading times or for watching longer videos or presentations.
Doorley, S. & Witthoft, S. (2012). Make space: How to set the stage for creative collaboration. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.