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Forum topic by CelesteofThrive posted 01-31-2009 06:12 PM 2668 views 1 time favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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CelesteofThrive

18 posts in 3484 days


01-31-2009 06:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: furniture design challenge orphanages project thrive

Hello ,
I need a brilliant plan. I work with orphanages all over the world and a few of the issues that comes up over and over again may be able to be handled by… furniture design. Space is always an issue, and desks and beds cost a lot in comparison to their overall budgets.

Recently an idea has come to me… What if a bed could be designed that took two desks (imagine picnic table sort of desks; a plank seat and plank thin table serving as a desk, often attached, you can go to www.ProjectThrive.org to see a typical “desk” in Kenya at the lower left)? With an innovative design during the day the bench desks could be upright and at night two could nestle together to become a bed, just add unrolled mattress. That way the space could be used as classroom space too! I hope this is making sense, or at least triggering an idea in your mind.

Orphanages all over the world could use the innovation if it were simple and
inexpensive to build.

We would name the bed after the designer and spread news of the design far and wide.
It really would make all the difference in the world.

Just a thought that keeps nagging at me! Hope you can see the possibilities. Someone designed the first Murphy bed, what if you designed the new bed that makes school a possibility for thousands more children?

With Warm Regards,
Celeste


Project Thrive
Sustainable Support for Vulnerable Children
“Because God Has No Orphans”
www.ProjectThrive.org

-- Celeste, Washington, www.ProjectThrive.org


23 replies so far

View LeeinEdmonton's profile

LeeinEdmonton

254 posts in 3663 days


#1 posted 01-31-2009 08:51 PM

Celeste:

I don’t know how “brilliant” this design is & not exactly what you are looking for but if you go to my projects there is a child’s desk/chair there that I built & donated to inner city daycares which they were delighted with due to the always chronic shortage of space & is a multiple use item.

Lee

-- Lee

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CelesteofThrive

18 posts in 3484 days


#2 posted 01-31-2009 09:06 PM

Wow! GREAT design. I will forward it to several orphanages. Any chance you can use that brain of yours to take it one up and make it able to transform into half of bed platform?

-- Celeste, Washington, www.ProjectThrive.org

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CelesteofThrive

18 posts in 3484 days


#3 posted 01-31-2009 09:06 PM

Thank you!

-- Celeste, Washington, www.ProjectThrive.org

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hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 4210 days


#4 posted 01-31-2009 11:56 PM

Hi Celeste:

I went to your website but I couldn’t find any information on your tax exempt status, such as a 501©(3) Public Charity.

I’d like to review your Form 990 filings before I get involved.

Can you provide that information?

Many thanks.

-- 温故知新

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CelesteofThrive

18 posts in 3484 days


#5 posted 02-01-2009 12:28 AM

Hello Randy,
Thank you for your question. We are a 501©3 public charity, one of several project of Clay For Earth EIN# 26-2560562. I am the director of ClayForEarth and of Project Thrive.
As for our 990… I am truly thrilled to report that our volunteer book keeper is at the helm putting our first full year of fiscal reports together even as we speak. Hard to believe, be we have only been around for one year. However, you can rest assured that we have an impeccable record and since our entire team are volunteers (including myself) we don’t have any overhead whatsoever. Which is in part how we have accomplished so much this year. All donations have applied 100% to the task at hand—getting practical solutions to orphanages so they can operate with greater effectiveness and be more self-sustaining. But back to what this project is about—- good old fashioned innovation applied to desks and bedding! I don’t have a pattern for making what I have in mind, because to my knowledge it hasn’t been invented yet. I’m hoping that the talented and friendly folks on lumberjocks can come up with just the right solution. How exciting would that be! Let me know if there is anything else I can answer for you. Thanks for your interest.//

-- Celeste, Washington, www.ProjectThrive.org

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Catspaw

236 posts in 3897 days


#6 posted 02-01-2009 01:56 AM

Actually I just replied to your other thread. But, here you say half a bed…which brings up the question of how big of a bed are you talking about? I’m trying to imagine things like the footprint and other parts. Also, I have an issue with two desks making one bed. I’m more of the one desk/one bed type.

I could use some perspective on general size ( I didn’t see any pics that helped me on your site.)

O.K. ....so I thought about it for a minute or two…..seems to me that it would be simple to make a picnic table with two swinging lockable frames under it. The frames hold up the table top. The frames then swing inward to lower the table top down to the same level as the bench seats and , of course, the table top would fit right in between the seats making a complete platform. Grab each end of the table in the morning, lift, and lock it in its “up” position.

Normally this would require some costly hardware for a commercial application (things like latches at the ends of the table to release the frames and such.) But, I’m sure mechanisms could be designed that would be simple and not “commercial”.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

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Catspaw

236 posts in 3897 days


#7 posted 02-01-2009 04:57 AM

So here’s what I came up with. It’s the concept not the actual dimensions or whatever. Would probably need to be adjusted for some bracing and comfort or whatever…it’s just the concept model…..

Top lifts off, rotate 180 degs. and drop. Use some locator pins or a foot or something to loc it in place when up. Rotating it only keeps the ends lined up. The kids probably wouldn’t bother with it except it brings the bracing out of the way.

You’ll just have to turn your head sideways, ‘cause for some reason it’s fine in Photobucket, but rotates when it gets here. Bottom most image is an end view, middle is with the top up, top is with the table top nestled down in between the bench seats. I only spent about five minutes on the drawing so it may not be totally clear.

Ready to go IKEA style to africa, packed flat and RTA.

-- arborial reconfiguration specialist

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Karson

35128 posts in 4482 days


#8 posted 02-01-2009 05:54 AM

I did something similar in a 15 passenger van that I converted. The seats were built in a “U” shape. Each seat had a double cushion. One on top of the other. The seat backs folded up and a brace was attached to hold them upright. The back cushion was placed across the braces and became a double bed. The double seat cushions on the sides fit on top of a brace in the middle of the two side cushions and it became a double bed.

So two double bunk beds appeared where an original horseshoe bench was.

If this is not clear, (Ya, right) I’d try to dray up a rough sketch.

You have to remember the van sides were there to provide support on the outside of this arrangement.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

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Karson

35128 posts in 4482 days


#9 posted 02-01-2009 06:08 AM

First picture top view as in van moving mode.

Front view in transformed mode.

The double seat cushions on the sides then filled in the space where the feet were normally. The seat cushions became the mattresses.

This gives you two double bunk beds.

This arrangement made two double beds from one seating arrangement.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View dan_fash's profile

dan_fash

62 posts in 3508 days


#10 posted 02-01-2009 10:50 AM

I believe I have some good ideas forming, but I have a few basic questions.
1) are the beds normaly single (not bunk) beds?
2) is there a “standard” size we should keep in mind
3) does there need to be a specific ration of bed to desk. (I’m seeing each bed (one child) becomes desk for two children

-- "If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most logical explantion is that I was made for another world." -C.S. Lewis

View CelesteofThrive's profile

CelesteofThrive

18 posts in 3484 days


#11 posted 02-01-2009 10:57 PM

Great ideas! I’m loving where we’re going with this. You have true gifts. I can see we’re getting somewhere. How exciting this could be.

Okay, let’s see if I can clarify some things:

The challenge is real:
1) Usually shipping is outrageous to third world countries and somewhat unpredictable. So our best bet would be to buy supplies on location and have them built there with tools available there. So simplicity in design is important.
2) Cost is important, so maximizing spare usage of materials is a must.
3) Space is at a premium in most orphanages, so being able to transform is a real plus. AND what if each had several options: a futon bed for the dorm “mother” that became a couch during the day. Bed/desks for the children, etc. Just a thought!
4) Most that I have seen use simple bunkbeds due to space issues. Often they have two or even three children per bunk level. And the kids are just grateful to have a bed and a roof over their heads. The orphanages currently requesting beds both have younger children and house less 50 and 100 children respectively. But the design(s) we’re looking for will be suggestions that the directors of orphanages can choose from as considerations. We don’t usually tell them what to do, we offer them options. And the two orphanage directors that I told about our idea were THRILLED at the possibility and eagerly await the design(s).
5) Sharing a bed is often practical- warmth.
6) Regarding normal, they are usually bunks, but we could come up with something that worked well enough as a non-bunk to merit them using them. My idea was envisioned as twin bed size, but I’m asking the pros (you) to consider any outside of the box ideas. After all, if the norm were working then there would already be other options!
7) The “standard” size that I have seen is traditional twin bed mattress size.
8) Love the idea of one bed, two desks.

Good luck! Thanks a million. I honestly believe we could be coming up with a vital innovation here. Sure appreciate your time in considering this!

Here are some photos of desks at an existing orphanage in the slums of Kenya. These are used by both younger and older students and are about 4 feet long. They are pretty typical. As you can see they are functional and use materials sparingly. But this doesn’t mean this is the only design that can be used. Maybe it’s time for a brand new direction.

Students at a current typical desk

Empty desks, so you can see the supports, though I hope these will not limit your own innovative ideas

Again, hope these help. No need to duplicate, just showing what many have, hoping it doesn’t limit your design ideas!

-- Celeste, Washington, www.ProjectThrive.org

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1381 posts in 4210 days


#12 posted 02-02-2009 11:50 PM

Celeste:

Be sure to allow your designs to be built by the local craftsmen in Kenya.
There are many woodworkers near Kibera, along the Langata Road outside of Nairobi.
They too need to be involved.

Asante sana.

-- 温故知新

View shack's profile

shack

114 posts in 4157 days


#13 posted 02-04-2009 06:38 PM

You can build 2 platforms the same size, I would make the top larger than the bases , the bases would be about 17 inches tall, you can use the bottom of one for storage , under the other one use fold out legs , this unit would become the desk top, a simple latch system can hold these together too become a single bed. Unlatch them pull out the legs and you have a large desk top and bench .

bed/desk

-- JohnShackleford,North Carolina

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shack

114 posts in 4157 days


#14 posted 02-04-2009 08:21 PM

Here are some better pics to describe what I am talking about. Hope this helps.

bed/desk02

-- JohnShackleford,North Carolina

View CelesteofThrive's profile

CelesteofThrive

18 posts in 3484 days


#15 posted 02-05-2009 04:30 AM

Thank you for all of the great input.

I believe I have some good ideas forming, but I have a few basic questions.

1) Are the beds normally single (not bunk) beds?
The orphanages that I have seen vary. Some use twin bed sizes. Some use bunk beds. Some use no beds at all until they can afford some for newly arriving children. Some have large dormitory areas, some have “home” areas with “mother figures” for each.

2) is there a “standard” size we should keep in mind.
Yes, twin bed size, though certainly the local craftsmen could elect to make them shorter for smaller children.

3) does there need to be a specific ration of bed to desk. (I’m seeing each bed (one child) becomes desk for two children

The truth is that each situation varies. But let me share the issue we are trying to solve. Orphanages are often scrambling for more desks, more beds, more space. In many of these nations wood is not easily come by. It is expensive compared to other things. So here was the original thought: What if desks could transform to beds, and transform back? Then the that would help the materials go twice as far. Saving resources, time, money and if the orphanage needed to have another classroom, they could just “transform” the beds and have another area available. If they had need of more desks, they would have them available. Less desks needed for a bit? No problem. In other words it would save on storage too! Not all orphanages need this, but many do. The challenge is to make the design simple to assemble, and utilizing minimal materials. Not all areas have the same resources and needs, but if we work this right, it could sure fill a lot of needs! And let’s say that a “family unit” had a futon bed for the “mother,” folding into a couch during the day. And a few had bunks, and others had the “transformers.” In fact, it occurs to me that in the design proposed above, two of the “desk” portions combined could make a table when needed! It’s not that this will be the only solution they have. One can buy bunks and such, but over and over again I have seen that the issue of desks and beds come up. I have spoken to the two who most recently requested beds and they are enthusiastic about this idea. I know our efforts will not be wasted. Excited to see what we come up with together. Great ideas so far!

All My Best,
Celeste

-- Celeste, Washington, www.ProjectThrive.org

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