When requested by a New Zealand childcare company to design a product that allows children to have a place to get away from the noise, Think & Shift created the Hideaway Chair.
The designer’s description
The chair is the result of a brief issued to Think & Shift by design led child care company New Shoots. New Shoots, tasked think & Shift with designing a product that serves as a space for children to get away from the noise and busyness of their surrounding environment, in New Shoots child care centres around New Zealand.
Hideaway is designed to be inviting for children but also beautiful for adults. The chair is safe, comfortable and user friendly for children and carers alike. Hideaway is made to be extremely hardwearing and is produced in New Zealand with natural materials and sustainable manufacturing processes.
The Hideaway Chair is a molded ply wood and upholstered chair, with an encompassing spherical shell, made up of four swooping semi circular sections. Hideaway’s spherical form provides enclosure, for visual and audio privacy, as well as an invitation for children to sit in which ever fashion makes them feel most relaxed. The Chair is uncommonly low to the ground, suggesting to children that it for them, not for adults.
Gaps between each bent ply section allow dirt to fall through and each upholstered panel is fixed to the chair using clips that allow them to be easily removed for cleaning or replacement. Additionally, the chair can be broken down to fit into a small box for more efficient and sustainable shipping.
“Aesthetically the chair needed to fit the New Shoots ‘high design’ brand but also appeal to children over anyone else. The chair’s curving front profile gives it the visual softness required, while its faceted side profile makes it feel contemporary and unique.” – Think & Shift
As well as looking clearly natural and high quality, all materials used are extremely hard wearing to survive the harshness of a childcare environment.
“To design this product, we had to disregard everything we knew about ergonomics. In early stage research, we discovered evidence which backed up our intuition that children do not sit the same way adults do. When given the opportunity, children in the centres sit upside-down, side-ways, curled up in a ball, with their friends, by themselves, with a blanket, on their knees, on their backs… Just about every way they can sit, other than the up-right, straight-backed position that adult chairs force them into. We therefore concluded that the design required was not a scaled down version of a ‘comforting’ adult’s chair, but a whole new approach to ergonomics and a feeling of comfort.” – Think & Shift