GOING WITH THE GRAIN: design an object using sustainable wood

Competition Details

Sheetseat - An Elementary School Desk

by Lea Ciavarra
Co-authors: Lubrano Ciavarra Design, LLC: Anne Marie Lubrano, Lea Ciavarra, Frederik Feller, Nora Meehan

We see the FSC-sponsored competition "Going with the Grain" as an opportunity to address a topic we care deeply about as a firm and as dedicated design professionals. Charter Schools are an ever growing presence across the US and they play an increasingly important role in our country’s educational system. As a New York City-based firm that focuses on children’s facilities, we have witnessed first-hand the complexities and difficulties Charter School start-ups face when trying to secure a safe, nurturing environment for their prospective students. A Charter School’s incremental growth as an institution and a community, combined with a five-year charter renewal process, leads schools down an often unpredictable path. Coupled with a volatile real-estate market, it is imperative that Charter Schools be flexible and ready to adapt to any given environment.

There are many steps toward a well-designed educational facility - some large, others small - but we believe each one is integral. The impact furnishing a classroom or other learning environment has on the school community should not be underestimated. "Going with the Grain" is an ideal setting to explore new alternatives in the production and application of educational furniture. Clearly, as we work toward enjoying a more responsible relationship with our environment, it is critical that we educate children in an atmosphere where sustainability is a priority. The specific avenues of exploration encouraged by the competition - flat-pack shipment, easy assembly and disassembly, economical and sustainable mindedness - speak directly to some of the unique challenges Charter School facilities face.

The SHEETSEAT is a smart, versatile piece of children’s furniture that gets to the heart of the competition’s objective. Capitalizing on the efficiency and precision of CNC technology, the desk is assembled from a single sheet of plywood generating minimal waste. Its sleek profile with repetitive shapes reinforces its design as a neat, compact, all-in-one study module. Its distinctive form of a simple folded plane offers a light, open feeling while at the same time providing structural stability. The SHEETSEAT can be easily and quickly disassembled for shipping or storage in confined spaces. It’s also designed with stacking capacity in mind to accommodate additional space requirements and classroom cleaning. The SHEETSEAT is an expression of self-reliance, sustainability and smart design which together serve as a strong foundation in the education of young people.