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ISKU - Creating modern spaces for education

31 May. 2021
ISKU Galerie
In adapting to the new normal of learning, social interaction is more important than ever, and schools are encouraged to provide the learning communities with opportunities for reshaping relationships, supporting emotional learning and building bonds that are important for meaningful learning, all while accomodating the required new safety protocols.

Romanian education system is currently going through certain changes, moving faster or slower, but inevitably heading towards synchronizing with the west-european ideas which were, in turn, inspired by the northern concepts, especially the scandinavian segment.

Online schooling is a small revolution in the field, caused by the pandemic (which will have some undeniable consequences), but the basis of education still remains the physical attendance, where the sense of collectivity and the mentor role of the educator are irreplaceable.

Children and the young will soon reenter the classrooms, with fewer and fewer restrictions, and the teachers will have to continue this education transforming process. The aspect that we want to point out might seem common knowledge: changes are made simultaneously with the adherence to new principles and ways of setting up educational spaces; modernization does not mean changing the old school benches with new ones but rather with...something else. 

What does the finnish learning concept ISKU Active Learning mean? 

We can have the same spaces at our disposal, but the design, the placement, the furniture, the functionalities need improvement. Why?

Because we have the tendency to let go of the passive learning, in which the student is only a spectator in class and doesn’t bring any meaningful personal contribution (a traditional method that doesn’t bring optimal results lately), in favor of active and interactive learning, which encourages communication, teamwork combined with individual work, taking responsibility, self-assessment, preparation for real life situations.

Another successful principle is concentrating the learning effort mainly in the classroom, including individual study, with less and less homework.

Thus it’s becoming increasingly obvious that educational spaces have to be drastically revamped, a concept also reflected in the work of designers and architects, who often suggest new ideas of organizing these locations during dedicated events (conferences, competitions, research studies, workshops). 

That being said, you will understand why a series of innovative concepts are being appreciated more and more, such as the ones belonging to the brand ISKU, an important finnish furniture and interior design solutions producer, specialised in educational functionality, present in Romania through Dacca Group Trade.


How does the Isku Active Learning concept optimise the learning process?  

As a general principle, ISKU focuses on special facilities for both work and relaxation in various public or residential spaces: education, office, meeting or conference rooms, Horeca units, medical field etc. 

Setting up the teaching and learning spaces is done according to a special concept, ISKU Active Learning, through which the educational process is seen as a joy, being based on adaptable, mobile structures that inspire new ways of arranging and using them. Besides functionality and superior quality, typical for scandinavian design, we have to say that the tables, chairs, armchairs, sofas and other furniture pieces by ISKU are designed in a way that allows easy and effortless space reconfiguration depending on the specific class activities.

As for the shapes, dimensions, textures or colours, the range is wide enough to allow the beneficiary to choose the optimal version once they understood the concept and its advantages.

Facilities and furnishing solutions are original and complementary, making their various uses possible:

  • Focus - they allow individual work, emphasis on important tasks without separation from collectivity (group learning). Also, educators have the possibility of adapting their way of teaching to each individual or to a small group, thus allowing the students to assimilate at their own pace.
  • Share - ensures interactive and creative teamwork by sharing tasks equally. Students can collaborate in open groups, can share impressions and knowledge; the groups can be smaller or larger and the furniture can be set up accordingly. The educator’s advantage is that they can enjoy a certain flexibility in choosing the working methods.
  • Study - inspired by traditional classrooms but with many transformation possibilities, they’re suitable for multifunctional spaces, for more subjects, which promote interaction between teacher, student and groups on different levels. The switch from individual to group study or communication with the educator can be done quickly, including for lectures or presentations. They can be rearranged or stored even by students in case they need to make seating changes or they need more room for certain physical activities.
  • Join – common living room like spaces in which the children, besides learning, can interact informally, stimulating their creativity and group culture. Located in hallways, halls or other open spaces, they can become attractive areas for individual or group study or even for relaxation. This type of setting is very useful and promotes social inclusion, which is a basic education requirement in democratic societies. 

Let’s take a look at some examples of tables manufactured with high-quality materials: the steel metallic parts covered with powder paint applied in an electrostatic field (a method with high usage and corrosion resistance, without using any solvents), laminated panels with resistant wear layer - original product, different accessories, including locking castors.

Nook - a table with curved shapes signed by the designer Petteri Häkkinen, which can be used individually or together with other ISKU elements in order to offer a safe and discreet working environment; 

Summa GF&GH – suitable for an individual working station against the wall, but used especially for creating a group working station with one or more similar tables;

Summa GR – due to its shape and dimensions it can be used to create, together with other tables of this kind, working surfaces with various layouts, placing the chairs on all sides.

Prima – ergonomic table that’s easy to maintain, designed by Raimo Räsänen for students in primary school or high school, equipped with height adjustability, different safety elements, bag hooks etc.

Klik – designed by Tapio Anttila, this table is a modernized space for reading or even attending a lecture. At the same time, it’s easy to move, to store (stackable) and to use at events in different setups. 

The chairs match the same standard of comfort and resistance, focused on safety and position control for the user. 

Tutor – chair types designed by Raimo Räsänen, perfect for educational spaces dedicated for students in higher grades, as well as offices, labs or production spaces, being extremely versatile (adjustable) and ergonomic. The seat and back can have beech, ash or laminated finishes in the specific ISKU colours, and some can even be provided in upholstery or antibacterial versions.  

Prima - (design - Raimo Räsänen) is a chair dedicated to students of different ages and, just like the other pieces of furniture, was designed according to the european standards. The chair can be attached to the table and the seat and back are either made of wood, laminate or polypropylene.  

Pisa – chairs that focus on functionality and design, height adjustable, with castors, making them perfect to be used by people of different heights, all while offering them good mobility. It can have different accessories such as leg support or a table attachment hook.

Tutto Active – a model designed by Mikko Laakkonen, in the shape of a saddle, which offers even more mobility to the user while they work. It’s a growing trend that comes in different sizes, including for children (abiding the safety regulations). The seat can be made out of birch plywood or upholstered.

Multi-functional and extremely attractive areas can be set up with the help of poufs. Here the students can study individually or in a group, relax and socialize. These furniture pieces can have diverse shapes and sizes, as their mobility is most important when it comes to combining them in creative and functional ways (in an angle, face to face, as an auditorium etc).  

The moving around can be done on wheels or on sliding lines; most of them have good acoustic qualities, but some of them can have superior sound-absorbing qualities, being used for this exact purpose. When it comes to ISKU products  we can talk about high safety and health standards, even ecology.

Storing cabinets for educational spaces by ISKU are designed to have different functionalities as well - not just storing, but also separating the working areas; some also have their back upholstered and can be used as presentation panels for teaching materials. Very sturdy, they can be sustained by stainless steel legs, sockets or locking castors. For high resistance and optimal design, they’re made by combining natural materials (beech, birch, oak, ash) and MDF panels for doors or drawers.

Special acoustic solutions are useful in this field as well. You can obtain new learning and playing areas by using these Nook modular panels, designed based on the circular saving principles (a durable production and material consumption method based on reutilisation, repairing and recycling in order to keep them useful for longer).

It’s a concept with which designer Petteri Häkkinen won the Gess Award, a prize dedicated to suppliers of educational products. Composed of 6 felt elements with absorbing qualities, a Nook cell with a diameter of over 140 cm and height of almost 130 cm can shelter not just a chair or armchair, but a whole working area that can include a small table, or even a small playing area that won’t bother anyone nearby.

All these products, along with certified assistance when it comes to highlighting them through optimal space decorating can be obtained in Romania at Dacca Group Trade from Cluj-Napoca.

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