June 7, 2008 Simon Dennehy began with an uncontroversial premise – kids are miserable in the classroom. But according to his two years of research at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, it’s not what kids sit through that pains them, it’s what kids sit on. Dennehy has designed Perch, a chair and desk unit for students that he claims will address severe ergonomic issues in schools.
With so much attention being given to healthy seating and desk arrangements in the office, it makes a lot of sense to apply the same practices to the younger generation. The final design of the Perch system contains a uniquely shaped work surface and a patented seat that flexes to suit the user. It is designed to increase productivity, health and well being, with consideration also given to storage, cleaning, stackability, aesthetics, safety and cost.
Perch encourages students to sit and work in a higher position, preventing build up of pressure under students’ legs. The flexible design encourages students to bounce slightly in their seats and must be adjusted from a standing position, promoting good blood flow.
Pivotal to the Perch concept is the idea that an ergonomic seat must be used in conjunction with the right type of desk. The Perch desk incorporates an elbow rest, which decreases the load placed on mid-sections. The warm, tactile surface can resist rough treatment, prevent books from slipping, and is easily cleanable. The desk edge can attach an accessories tray, Lego base, or arts palette.
It’s hoped that the Perch system will encourage more research into ergonomic solutions for the schoolroom. After all, maybe the maths lessons don’t stick, but school definitely teaches children the posture habits they will assume for the majority of their life.
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