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GESS Awards 2021 Finalist

Bench table family provides offices and other workspaces, schools, universities and any educational institute with a solution where several innovations integrate to one solution. Bench, designed by Juri Karinen, is the result of new identified needs and demands in the working and education environment. Multifunctionality is the buzzword of the day and spaces are used more efficiently. The ways we work, co-work and learn have changed. This has led to new demands in the functionality of our spaces and the furniture we use. Our environments adapt, thus furniture must adapt too.

ISKU is shortlisted as GESS Innovation Awards 2021 finalist with Bench. GESS Education Awards is a highly appreciated international award in its field and referred even as the “Oscars” of the education sector. This award is given to a product or service that is ahead of current thinking and demonstrates innovation at the highest level, with a way of doing something differently or more effectively. Bench emphasizes sustainable design and tackles safety issues brought forth by the pandemic.

A result of a user-driven design process

Bench is an innovation that meets the users’ everyday needs. It provides a solution for the following challenges related to effective and safe utilization of shared spaces:

  1. Functionality requirements related to flexibility and modifiability
  2. Acoustic management to enhance effective learning and working
  3. Health and well-being of the users

Spaces are re-organised, refurnished and re-utilized. Today the same room might be used for an individual work task in the morning, a co-work session in the afternoon and a meeting in the evening. Bench adapts with us and our needs.

Flexible and modifiable Bench table family

Flexibility and modifiability with easy technology integration

Bench tables are constructed around a modular frame which can be modified by the user at any time. With detachable table screens Bench can be easily converted into undisturbed individual or pair workstations enabling physical distancing, privacy and enhanced acoustics. Bench also provides the users with an inventive power supply and cable management system that supports effective use of multiple devices.

As novel learning technologies are increasingly more applied the challenge of power supply and cable management is emerging. Therefore, in the design process a special attention was put in solving these matters. As a result, Bench provides the users with an inventive power supply and cable management system that enables effective use of multiple devices. Seamless cable management is also essential in creating visually pleasing and clean environments, as well as enhancing the safety of spaces by protecting the users from getting mixed in unorganized wires.

Bench table antimicrobial materials

Antimicrobial materials maximise safety

An office, co-working space or a school is a typical environment where infections are spread. To tackle the challenge, we have innovated antimicrobial ISKU+ solution to break the infection chains on touch surfaces. Like any other product manufactured by us, Bench is available with antimicrobial materials. Also, the screens are available with antimicrobial fabrics.

The excellence of the ISKU+ innovation is especially in its ability to cut the spread of harmful microbes, and its efficacy which doesn’t decay over time. The permanent antimicrobial feature makes surfaces protected against wear and tear and cleaning. Overall, ISKU+ antimicrobial technologies can be considered to reduce microbes up to 99.99%. The antimicrobial technologies used in ISKU+ furniture have been tested from the permanent efficacy, safety, recyclability and durability point of view.

The furniture board used for the Bench table tops is M1 classified, eliminating the risk for indoor air emissions. These features make Bench a safe and sustainable choice for any shared space.

Bench solution for acoustic management

New means for acoustic management

Bench is designed to attenuate noise, which is often reported as one of the factors that need more control in working and learning environments. Bench invisibly and inventively integrates sound-absorbing features for acoustics management.

Upholstered table screens effectively cut off the reverberation and thus dampen the level of noise in the space. The shaped cable tray under the table top is designed to dampen the reverberation caused by steps and moving the chairs. Also, the material of the cable tray is sound absorbing felt manufactured mainly from recycled PET bottles.


Bench is a sustainable choice

Design, production and logistics are key elements for longevity leading to sustainable furniture. Bench brings circular economy thinking to life. This begins with the carefully selected materials, local subcontractors, certified production facilities and strictly controlled production process. All this continues to a life-cycle philosophy, leading to a long lasting finished product with low environmental impact.

Overall, ISKU prefers environmentally sustainable materials and manufacturing methods having one of the most sustainable production operations in Europe. The entire production is PEFC-certified. All wood used in our production comes from sustainably and responsibly managed forests, and the chain of custody of raw materials is known. For example, the cable tray material of Bench is manufactured mainly from recycled PET bottles and all the materials are recyclable.

All the well-thought elements make Bench a highly sustainable choice for generations to come.

"Simple design and logic create long-lasting and beautiful products," says designer Juri Karinen.