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The “IKEA-fication” of Kansas City

Have you heard the news, it’s the cover story of every local business publication, the teaser for the “News at 10” and has social media newsfeeds a buzz… IKEA has opened in Kansas City (insert: “Eeek!!”) Don’t get me wrong, I am excited that we now have one close by and may have even been one of the people “Facebooking” about its arrival- way back when….just maybe.

But, as a commercial furniture and flooring dealer, do we have a place in our hearts for IKEA and it’s “Ready to Assemble” (RTA) wares? I think we do.  IKEA, and it’s knocked down furniture fills a certain need, just as commercial grade furniture fills a particular need. Which begets the question – what is the difference between residential and commercial-grade furniture? Some may quickly reply, “price!” And while there may be a discrepancy in price between residential and commercial furniture, it’s with good reason. It’s a akin to likening your oven/stove at home and a commercial grade oven used in a bakery or restaurant; while they both serve the same purpose and function, one is designed for repetitive, heavy, “continuous” use, versus less frequent, lighter use.

Commercial grade furniture is built to last, from higher quality materials than most residential pieces and is tested for strength, stability, etc… There are organizations, such as ANSI/BIFMA that set standards commercial grade furniture must meet or exceed, of which residential furniture does not. Our workspaces and certainly educational environments often find furniture being used in ways not intended (i.e. as step stool, sitting on a tablet arm- in lieu of writing on it, etc…) Commercial furniture is typically made of thicker steel, higher quality woods and tested for real life applications, such as a tablet arm being used as a stool, as illustrated earlier.  In fact, one of the best parts of any furniture factory tour is seeing the testing area/facility. You may not be old enough to recall this, but for some reason images of the Samsonite Gorilla commercial always flashes in my head, as I watch the chairs have excessive weights repeatedly dropped on them, or a sofa dropped on its end over and over and over and….(you get the drift.)

While serving the same purpose, commercial-grade and residential furniture certainly share functionality; it’s the durability, sustainability, quality and lifespan that separates the knocked down, ready to assemble furniture of the world from commercial grade quality furniture.

So no love lost on Ikea,  afterall,  what goes better with furniture shopping than some Swedish meatballs?

 

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From Chalkboards to Smartboards…

a classroom thesis

 

 

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My son brought home his first night of 5th grade homework the other night; he flipped open his District- issued personal laptop and logged on to his teacher’s YOU TUBE channel and got to work.

Somehow, despite my knowledge of the changing 21st century classroom (in my mind, I think I viewed these changes as the “Higher Education” setting, more so than the K12 realm), I sat amazed. He still had paper and pencil, but only to show and record his work. The teacher poises the question/problem via the video, students pause and complete the problem, and then resume the video to hear the answer, as well as the teacher explains the reasoning and method of reaching the answer. Such a simple concept, yet I was impressed with the brilliance of its simplicity. Isn’t the sole purpose of homework to reinforce concepts introduced during the school day, not just busy work, as generations of children have bemoaned?

This is just a small example of how technology has impacted education. Not only is the way “we” teach changing, but the environments our teachers are teaching in and our students are learning in, have also evolved based on how technology has infiltrated our lives.

Teknion has recently partnered with Gensler on a study about technology in the classroom (https://teknion.app.box.com/s/hlrp5qzfzugu1ygq1zbs), which reveals some telling trends and considerations for not only our society in whole, but gives vendors and manufacturers tangible data to forecast and proactively engineer products/goods to meet those changing needs.    “Active learning, collaboration, reinforcing concepts through hyper-connectedness and ease of access,” are just a few of the trends associated with the 21st Century Classroom. How will (has) the physical classroom environment changed in light of this paradigm shift?  What are your thoughts on the changing face of Education, driven by our tech-savvy, hyper connected world?

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The Inspiration Behind Teknion Spectrum

Designed by Jeffrey Bernett and Nicholas Dodziuk for Teknion Studio, the Spectrum™ Lounge Series meets traditional office needs, but also covers new ground in planning, problem-solving and aesthetics.

The Spectrum sofa divides space and defines zones with the ability to run for an infinite span. Individual pieces can also be configured to create islands. The end armrests support the use of tablets and laptops, while loose armrests flip to reveal a hard surface for writing or work tools.

The modularity of the Spectrum Lounge Series creates quadrants that offer the potential to use different fabrics and to alternate colors and textures, projecting an aesthetic that ranges from bold and provocative to refined and subtle.

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BA Designs