Amber Chen

Kid's "Ergonomic" Desk Set

Class of: 2023

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: Furniture (Canadian plywood)

Faculty: Hilda Shen

Prompt: The theme of this project is to involve thinking about the logic and structure of the fork.

The purpose of the work is to satirize the absurdity of ergonomics and the culture of Asian parents buying expensive ergonomic desk sets for kids and training them to become study robots. For me, the idea of ergonomic chairs is ridiculous. People are asked to sit straight and have their elbows and knees put in 90 degrees. This way, they would have less chance to get body pain. However, no one would actually sit like that while working in reality.

Besides, the culture created by the Asian education pattern is also absurd. Growing up under a strict public educational system in Taiwan, I found many students have to learn day and night since they were kids. Therefore, parents would buy ergonomic desk sets to provide them a “better learning environment”. However, the truth is they are just training their kids to become study robots.

To emphasize both phenomena, I made a wooden fake ergonomic desk set for kids. The back of the seat and the table are all covered with stabs so that the kid’s body would present like how the real ergonomic chair required. Moreover, a head stabilizer covered with stabs is added to prevent leaning forward while sitting. To create some “comfortable feeling” I made cushions to make the desk set seem able to sit. For me, the most interesting part is how to get in and out of the desk. To make the kid get in, parents have to unchain the chain stapled on the back of the chair and chain it back. However, once someone sitting in it tries to escape, he/she would be hurt by stabs. The kid is locked until parents unchain it. Training kids into studying machines in a “good” learning environment provided by ergonomic desk set is a torture for them.