Currently in development, Arper is creating a version of Cila designated for the learning sector designed by studio Lievore Altherr. The chair is inspired by the sensation of a cloth wrapped against the body offering protection and comfort — both an embrace and like a cape. The symbol of the cape lends dual resonance in an educational environment, evoking both the magician and the sage.
Why are we interested in learning and education?
Since our beginning, Arper has consistently responded to the changes in our work life and to the impact of the digital turn. It is only fitting that we begin to consider how these changes have affected educational contexts. Today, students are asked to be both collaborators and self-motivated learners, to work alone and together. The digital revolution has given students new tools and access to information, but not all of the physical environments that have been designed to support learning have adapted to these new demands. Concerned about how to prepare our kids for the future, we started to investigate this shift and discovered that there is a growing desire to rethink education and learning –– and to uncover what schools will look like in the future.
What factors are driving change in the learning sector?
Not dissimilar to the changes that are occurring in the office sector, there are three factors driving changes in education. The first is the impact of new collaborative digital technologies like free and open source software, videoconferencing, the read/write web and distance learning programs that have opened up where learning takes place.
Second, the talents necessary to enter the workforce have shifted from industrial skills to the knowledge economy. We need to reevaluate what skills are taught.
The final factor is collaboration. We’ve experienced a cultural shift towards a more transparent and open approach that is shaping many aspects of our society, including (and especially) education. This affects how learning takes place.
How can we change classrooms so that they effectively prepare students for their future?
Above all, the classroom should become a flexible, collaborative environment. The classroom has to be able to be re-arranged in different configurations, so students can work as individuals, pairs or groups. The chair becomes a workspace in itself with wheels, a foldable table and a storage space for books –– no more tables, and no more static workspaces. Students should be able to make their own spaces within the school environment.
In many ways, the qualities that make the Googles of the world exceptional are the same that make childhood classroom exceptional —an embrace of creativity, play and collaboration. It was just one year ago that 1.500 CEOs identified creativity as the number-one leadership asset in our complex global marketplace. We can no longer afford to teach our kids or design their schoolhouses using outdated models. It is time to re-imagine and invest in schools and spaces ripe for creativity.