Obliging space

This transformative chair is the outcome of an elaborate co-creative process with children at Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School (KGMS) in North Vancouver. Myself and Dan, my project partner, worked alongside students with learning differences. The group of children, aged between 10 and 13 years old, identified as often feeling stranded in the regularized education system. KGMS provided them with a safe, nurturing environment, and the opportunity to work along side Emily Carr students who were there to help inspire ways to aid them in their schooling experience.

People with learning differences use a variety of visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic cues to enable them to synthesize and process information.  Dan and I were tasked with envisaging an interactive textile based system that could enable and empower the children. We began by creating cultural probes which facilitated an understanding of the way the children behave. We explored how they interact with each other, the teachers, the classroom and its contents, and landed on the children’s necessity of confidence, the yearn for ownership, and the appreciation of alone time.

Our final design is a chair to aid in the transformation of bad days, or bad experiences. It is a way for the children to isolate themselves through its ability to provide tunnels and walls. The easy manipulation and maneuverability of the object provides an opportunity for children to build relationships through the exploration of possible shapes of the chair. It also allows self-expression through their ability to morph the shapes into anything they desire.