Designer Uses Kerfkore to Make Inclusive Children’s Furniture
Play is an important part of childhood development for all children, but for kids with special needs, playgrounds are often not accessible to everyone or safe, e.g., jungle gyms, swings, see-saws, etc. Industrial design student Jacqueline saw an opportunity to create children’s furniture that would be inclusive to all kids and create a playful indoor experience.
As an industrial design major, Jacqueline spent her last semester completing a senior project to show the skills she had learned throughout her design program. She used her experience working with kids to develop Juno, a piece of children’s furniture that provided a safe play area for all children, including those with disabilities.
The project began with Jacqueline researching childhood development. She started her research by working with a physical therapist specializing in children with cerebral palsy. From there, Jacqueline began sketching early furniture ideas that struck a balance between fun and safety.
Early inspirations for Juno included products used by physical and occupational therapists designed for children with mobility issues, but they were too medical-looking which did not appeal to children and didn’t encourage free play. This is what led Jacqueline to develop Juno’s unique U-shaped design. Juno could be sat on and rocked, flipped upside down, climbed on top of, and crawled through. Combining multiple Junos could create endless combinations from obstacle courses to tunnels to imaginary situations like riding horses or a rocket ship.
Once Jacqueline had developed her final concept, she began figuring out how she would build a prototype. Fortunately, one of her mentors is a frequent buyer of Kerfkore. They recommended using the flexible material for the shell to create a smooth and consistent curved surface. As a result, she reached out to Kerfkore, and we worked to find the best product (Kerfkore plywood core) for her project. We were so excited to be a part of the project, that we donated all of the Kerfkore materials she needed.
Next, Jacqueline used a CNC router to create the framework on which the Kerfkore sheet would be attached. This was also an opportunity to test out how her final product would move around and make final adjustments. To attach the Kerfkore, Jacqueline used a layer of wood glue with clamps to hold the parts in place and then a nail gun to secure it while the glue set. By using Kerfkore Jacqueline was able to create a tight, uniform outer shell that could be rocked back and forth smoothly without cracking.
To make the seat more comfortable, she lined the inside of the chair with a yoga mat and to add traction and stability the outside was covered with a layer of cork. The cork was painted with an animal print to make it more engaging to children.
After completion and final tests, Jacqueline showed it to kids in her neighborhood. The children, without any instructions, started climbing over and under, sitting, and rocking as she had hoped.
At Kerfkore, we love seeing all the new and exciting ways people are using our products. Stay tuned for more project highlights from designers like Jacqueline!