In 2006, I had an amazing opportunity to visit a small town in Germany called Tauberbischofsheim. V/S Furniture, a company on the leading edge of design and production/fabrication of school furnishings, is located there and each year they offered designers from America the chance to visit the showroom, tour the manufacturing plant, attend presentations, and experience a taste of German culture. Ten years ago, V/S was fairly new to America, although not new to the world of school furniture. For over 100 years, they had been an innovator in the educational market and finally America was ready to embrace them. As designers it was a great leap forward to present alternative options to the hard plastic chairs and square desks we all remember from our childhood. New flexible, rocking, nesting, adjustable options were available.
Fast forward 9 years later and I was invited by the Robert H. Lord Co and V/S to visit the showroom in Germany once again. I jumped at the chance to learn the latest trends in education furniture design, and I was certainly not disappointed. Over the past year, V/S introduced their Shift+ series of furniture which includes wave shaped tables along with concave and convex desks that can nest within each other. Their sleek design is modern, lightweight and easy to configure for a multitude of classroom layouts. Accessories to these work surfaces include adjustable teacher lecterns, and curved shelving units with nesting lounge seats of various heights.
What I found innovative about these designs was that they not only worked for general classroom spaces but for breakout and project areas, library/media centers, common areas and resource areas. This furniture is appropriate for all age groups from Kindergarten to higher education. The adaptability and simplicity is exactly what the educational market has been looking for. I was able to discuss future design trends with the R&D leader with V/S and discovered that they are in the process of designing coordinating products that accommodate maker spaces and additional mobile storage options.
As designers at JCJ, we strive to be at the forefront of educational design. Working with innovative partners such as V/S supports our design philosophy and provides tools to enhance our designs.
Article by Emily E. Czarnecki, NCIDQ
Senior Associate/ Senior Interior Designer