The Hideaway chair was inspired by an unfulfilled need in the child care market and a key unique insight gathered at early research stages of the project.
Design led child care company New Shoots, approached think & Shift to design a product that would provide children a comforting sense of enclosure in their child care centres. A chair that serves as a space for children to get away from the noise and business of their surrounding environment. The client had previously tried to satisfy this need with existing products and found that no chair on the market would fulfil their specific requirements, stand up to the rigors of a child care environment and give them a point of difference in their centres. The chair was required to befit, visually, the New Shoots brand, be safe, comfortable and user friendly for children and carers alike and be produced in NZ with natural materials and a sustainable approach.
To answer this challenging and unique brief, our designers first spent time at the child care centres observing children’s interaction with furniture and learning the requirements of children and their carers first hand. Key insights around ergonomics and the feeling of comfort were discovered at this point, which inspired much of our design solution.
We discovered evidence which backed up our intuition that children do not sit the same way adults do. This explained why existing chairs did not fill the requirements of the brief. We noted that 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 what was required was not a scaled down version of a ‘comforting’ adult’s chair, but a whole new approach to ergonomics and the feeling of comfort.