Redefining Whiteboards

When we were first asked by Ghent to design a new line of whiteboards, we saw it as an opportunity to redefine the way people use whiteboards and how they could create a place (not just exist in space). Like all of the projects (architecture + industrial design) KEM STUDIO takes on, we took the project through our research process that looks at seven different elements: context; function; interaction; user; brand; the manufacturing process; and constraints/opportunities. We found that most of the whiteboards out there were pretty much the same - a rectangular, framed, white panel that you could write on. But, when we looked at how people were actually using whiteboards and other tools for collaboration and learning, we documented people using index cards and Post-It notes stuck onto the whiteboards, and used alongside paper pads on easels. Almost everywhere, there was more than one surface in more than one location - a layered approach. Through our research process we were able to establish the big idea for the project: Simple, fun, smart + layered. This big idea reinforced the opportunity to redefine the way people collaborate, communicate, and learn more effectively. The result of the big idea is a line of whiteboards called LINK. Each product in the line (there are three versions, LINK Board, LINK Wedge, and LINK Hex) is designed out of bent sheet steel that is powder-coated. With this manufacturing process, we were able to make each product more sculptural, ergonomic, functional, fun and colorful. Instead of just existing in a space, these whiteboards created a place, and gave it personality. In terms of functionality, the boards can be easily interchanged on your wall due to the simple hardware system. The steel makes them inherently strong, durable and magnetic. Using steel also let us add ergonomic features, such as the 5-degree slant on the Board and Wedge versions which make it easier to write on the surface. To see our whiteboards in action, check out this video and visit the Ghent booth (#7-2054)where all the LINK whiteboards will be on display.

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About the Author

Jonathon Kemnitzer is a Principal of KEM STUDIO - a design firm fusing architecture + industrial design. He can be reached at jkemnitzer@kemstudio.com.