Rather than impose a new seating solution, the University of Southampton let its students decide...
As part of a long-term refurbishment programme of its shared learning spaces, the University of Southampton wanted to replace the accumulated mismatching seating with a single style of chair. The University enlisted the help of national seating specialists Posturite, with the eventual decision handed over to the students themselves.
Several meetings were held with the client to listen to their requirements to provide a chair that would suit the environment of the Common Learning Space areas. They wanted something with longevity and a lengthy warranty to ensure they didn’t have to replace them or have to deal with broken parts. The various types and colours currently available were discussed, and the black chair with black back and seat pads and silver legs was chosen to fit in with the environment visually as well as ergonomically. It was taken in to the Project Team to evaluate first and then put out to the students, alongside a selection of other products that similarly fit the bill.
The environmental credentials were seen as admirable by students
At the end of the trial, the participants overwhelmingly voted for the HÅG Conventio Wing. Once the chairs were supplied, the client stated that we had provided a first-class service to support the quality product.
A dynamic chair specially designed for meetings and conferences, the HÅG Conventio Wing has a variety of features which make it perfect for learning environments. The chair’s built-in rocking mechanism inspires and encourages variation and movement, enhancing blood circulation, mental focus and performance. The freedom to move also removes any feelings of constriction, which become more acute when concentrating. The Wing also features self-stabilising legs, so no matter how uneven the floor surface, all four legs always remain rooted.
The aesthetic appeal was a big winner for the students. Its wing-shaped back with a slight curve is not only ergonomical, but attractive too. Its light but tough build makes it easily movable, and it can cope with rough treatment, coming with a 10-year warranty. It can be stacked up to 15 high and can easily clip together with a simple linking mechanism, great for when use in conference settings.
Finally, the environmental credentials were seen as admirable by students. The Conventio Wing follows HÅG’s ongoing commitment to sustainable production, with recycled car bumpers and plastic bottles a significant proportion of the plastic used, as well as recycled aluminium and steel. The product is EPD, Greenguard and Mobelfakta certified.
Southampton University was impressed with the credentials and backed the students’ choice, and to date over 2,500 chairs have been ordered, in two different configurations; five-star bases for computer focused areas, and the four-legged variety everywhere else. They also took advantage of the customised upholstery options, with each chair carrying a stitched ‘Common Learning Space’ motif to identify them.
Speaking a few months later, a representative from Southampton University said: “Since the first batch of chairs went in, they have been subjected to the usual day-to-day use by students but they are still looking as smart and stylish as the day they were delivered.”
The University has received positive feedback from students, with students regularly spotted dragging their chairs from one room to another, in order to avoid using a different chair. After the initial installation, office and educational furniture specialists BOF took over the tender, and have supplied the University with additional pieces ever since the installation.
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