In her Sesc Pompéia theater, architect Lina Bo Bardi designed a central stage revealing the structure and all the functions of the theater's program, and renouncing traditional theater seating. Her seats were not upholstered, were close to each other, and encouraged a more aware, attentive, and upright posture among the audience, thus honoring, according to her, the ancient art of theater.
In the same way that the characteristics of architectural spaces alter our mood, feelings, concentration, and learning, so does the integral design element of furniture, which must be taken seriously when considering comprehensive user experiences. Regarding schools and learning environments in particular, the same attention given to teaching materials is often not conferred on furniture and physical structure.
For children, whose body proportions at each age are very different from those of adults, this attention is even more important. In addition to providing adequate comfort, the furniture must be flexible enough to adapt to teaching requirements, children's activities, and other possibilities for interaction. The traditional design of schools with static rows of desks has evolved into fluid spaces facilitating flexible interactions, allowing for the development of critical senses, autonomy, and creativity, which are increasingly important skills in times where automation and artificial intelligence can handle repetitive and standardized functions. It is essential that the dimensions and designs of school furniture are appropriate for the work carried out by students, allowing for flexibility in the most diverse activities.
With an extensive portfolio of educational projects, the Brazilian Studio dLux observed the need to develop furniture for their designs, and to that end sought to comprehensively understand the requirements of children's learning spaces. This furniture catalog, which includes pieces developed for children as well as for other programs, is available for download and can be freely reproduced and adapted - as long as it is for personal and non-commercial use - through the Creative Commons license. Manufactured on CNC machines from plywood, MDF, or OSB, this furniture was digitally designed and made available through open-source design.
According to Denis Fuzii, one of the creators of the project, "the objective of open-source design is to democratize and decentralize production and consumption, involving local producers and giving each person the opportunity to make furniture more accessible to themselves. It's to create a network of producers that help and promote production and the local economy." A person anywhere in the world can download the project to use one of these pieces of furniture in their own environment. To serve schools with fewer resources, files can be downloaded and cut locally free of charge - as long as the place where they will be used and their manufacturing material is confirmed - and can be requested via email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. In terms of costs, the cost of production for these items is competitive in relation to other market solutions, while they are especially advantageous because they can be personalized for the age and use in question. An example of one of these designs is the Bico Chair, available for download at this link with all the information to cut and assemble.
In addition to their open source project, the architects launched the "assembling my school" kit, which promotes a "cut, paste, and paint" activity for children to remember and reinvent their schools. Just as the theaters were a sacred space for Lina Bo Bardi, so are the schools where children learn, in addition to traditional disciplines, how to live in society and appreciate their differences. The role of the architect is to create spaces that can promote this aim.