GREEN BAY, WI – Educational furniture maker KI and students in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) School of Architecture and Urban Planning (SARUP) have developed a public seating prototype -  “DRIFT” -  that showcases a unique blade and foam design structure.

DRIFT, along with models, research and drawings from the design process created during a KI-sponsored collaborative studio with UWM are on exhibit through October 30, 2012 at Discovery World, Milwaukee’s science and technology museum.

“The DRIFT project contemplates the role of furniture within gathering spaces,” says Grace La, associate professor of UWM SARUP and director of the studio. “Recognizing an array of natural body positions and new relationships with technology, the project offers an informal landscape of flexible seating, collaborative opportunities and intensified ergonomic potential.The DRIFT furniture is also a lantern, integrating lighting and electrical power needs.

  “Providing students with hands-on experience in studying the relationship between physical space and human-scaled objects, such as furniture, was tremendously rewarding,” said Amy Kiefer, VP education at KI. “KI was able to deliver key insights and expertise that helped to guide the students in the concept, design and development of DRIFT.” Over 70 students have participated in the studio since its inception in 2008

Leveraging Midwestern wood manufacturing to teach students about design and fabrication was part of the project, says Paul Krajniak, executive director at Discovery World.

“The prototype is designed as a repetitive “blade” and foam structure, utilizing straightforward CNC technology to achieve shaping of infinite and supple variation, Krajniak says. "It is a simple idea, with rich inspirations and beautiful execution.” Shoto Corp., Two Rivers, WI maker of tabletops and laminated wood products for healthcare and contract furniture, helped with the project.

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