Title:
Table topology and arrangement
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A seating table and arrangement includes a table which is preferable six sided, with two parallel sides and two main angled sides, along with two oppositely located abbreviated width sides and which provides a number of advantages including increased seating capacity and classroom quality enhancement. In a room arrangement of the tables, the larger of the two parallel sides are directed toward the podium with the tables preferably arranged in a somewhat evenly dispersed orientation with tables along the middle of the room angled straight toward the podium while tables to the side being angled slightly toward the centerline of the room.



Inventors:
Pittenger, Gregory Gordon (Long Beach, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/731303
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
03/30/2007
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B41/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ING, MATTHEW W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Curtis L. Harrington (Long Beach, CA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A table comprising: a top having a first main longer side, a second main shorter side parallel and opposite the first main longer side, a first angled side adjacent and angled with respect to the second main shorter side, a second angled side adjacent and angled with respect to the second main shorter side, a first shortened end side between the first angled side and the first main longer side, and a second shortened end side between the second angled side and the first main longer side; and legs for supporting the top.

2. The table recited in claim 1 wherein an angle between the second main shorter side and the first and second angled sides is between one hundred twenty five degrees to about one hundred forty five degrees.

3. The table recited in claim 1 wherein the second main shorter side is from 0.5 to 0.75 times the length of the first main longer side.

4. The table recited in claim 1 wherein distance between the first main longer side and the second main shorter side varies from about 0.18 to about 0.31 times the length of the first main longer side.

5. The table recited in claim 1 wherein a portion of said table top adjacent said first angled side is hingeably angularly displaceable with respect to a main extent of said table top.

6. A classroom arrangement comprising: a plurality of supported table tops, each table top having a first main longer side, a second main shorter side parallel and opposite the first main longer side, a first angled side adjacent and angled with respect to the second main shorter side, a second angled side adjacent and angled with respect to the second main shorter side, a first shortened end side between the first angled side and the first main longer side, and a second shortened end side between the second angled side and the first main longer side; at least two of said plurality of supported table tops situated in a class room in a first row more closely adjacent a first wall and in which said plurality of supported table tops in said first row have said first main longer side angled with respect to said first row, and at least two of said plurality of supported table tops situated in said class room in a second row more closely adjacent a second wall and in which said plurality of supported table tops in said first row have said first main longer side angled with respect to said second row.

7. The classroom arrangement recited in claim 6 and wherein at least two of said plurality of supported table tops situated in said class room are in a third row between and spaced apart from said first row and said second row of said plurality of supported table tops.

8. The classroom arrangement recited in claim 6 and wherein at least two of said plurality of supported table tops situated in said class room are in a third row between and adjacent said table tops in said first row and said second row.

9. A table comprising: a top having a first partial main longer side, a second partial main shorter side parallel and opposite the first partial main longer side, an angled side adjacent and angled with respect to said second partial main shorter side, a rectangular side extending at a right angle with respect to and between said first partial main longer side and said second partial main shorter side, and a transition side between said angled side and said first partial main longer side; and legs for supporting the top.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an advantageously shaped table and a room table arrangement using this table and in which significant room space savings is achieved without sacrificing minimum travel passageway spacing and an advantageous curved lecture topology can be achieved.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Classrooms, meeting rooms lecture halls and their table furnishings are by nature public and subject to public standards. Whether in public or private institutions, classrooms are designed for use by the public or by employees subject to public laws. Nearly all classrooms in unrestricted facilities must meet minimum space and density requirements. Further, and especially for daily or continuous regular usage, minimum spacing requirements is necessary for reasonable and regular comfort in the learning environment. All furnishings are likely to experience periodic overcrowding as when two or three groups meet at a location to hear a 5 minute announcement, where discomfort is outweighed by the need for information. However, in long run perfunctory usage minimum requirements must be met.

When a given size room is available it may not always be furnishable in a manner that maximizes the comfortable seating capacity, even if the user has an unrestricted selection of furnishing and their orientation. Even a less than optimum arrangement in terms of seating capacity does not address the qualitative degree to which a good learning environment has been created.

In general, for table seating space, the minimum standard for adults is about twenty four inches of lateral width per seated adult. Classroom furniture and facilities for children will naturally be less. For adults, the space forward of the user should be a minimum of about sixteen to eighteen inches and preferably about twenty-four inches. Depending on the size of the student's books about two levels of book height away from the user should be available. In other cases there should be adequate space for equipment.

Conventional rectangular tables are most commonly utilized which are four and a half feet wide by two feet deep and seat two students on one side. As a result, nine square feet of table surface are provided for two students, or about four and a half square feet per student. These tables are typically used side by side and do not allow for a student to be seated at the end. About a foot and a half behind the table is allowed for a user seated closely at the table, but in order to slide the chair back and exit a three foot rear clearance is typically provided. Assuming this combined five foot front of table to rear clearance space, the use of straight tables in a lecture room (excluding the lecturers area) would require two and a quarter feet of table width per adult plus the side wall clearance of three feet on each side. Each row is five feet deep, two feet for table depth and three feet to accommodate rearward sliding chairs.

A room of twenty-five foot by twenty-five foot dimensions, or six hundred and twenty-five square feet will be used as an example. This room, including adequate space for a two-foot deep instructors table and three foot mobility spacing in front of and behind, will accommodate three rows of four tables each. Each table will accommodate two students. This room's student occupancy would be twenty-four students, or twenty-six square feet of space per student occupant.

Assuming the tables were pushed against one wall, adequate space would be available to accommodate only one more table; but the access aisle along the opposite wall would be only two and a half feet wide, not sufficiently wide for most building codes. The accommodate this addition of another table to each row, the room would have to be widened by a foot or two. The resulting twenty-five foot by twenty-seven foot room, six hundred and seventy five square feet, would accommodate thirty students, twenty two and a half square feet per student.

This result can scale to larger rooms in a direct proportion and without much savings from eliminating the three foot table-wall clearance. Further, as the room gets larger users begin to have their mobility reduced. An adult at the center of a row of tables has to walk down the row and then either toward the front or rear of the room. Conversely, it also means the instructor must walk in a similar square pattern in order to be able to approach the students.

In a lab or workshop setting where the instructor needs to wander from student to student, a scaling up of this basic format causes a lot of angular row and column walking to move around. It would make a large room unmanageable as other than a passive seating audio visual or lecture room.

Further, one of the techniques used in the classroom increasingly is the small group dynamic also referred to as a work group. This is especially true in a lab context where there are expected to be periodic lectures followed by periods where small groups confer. In the example cited, a group of four or five people would have difficulty seeing each other if seated along the same straight table row. There exists the possibility that two people of one row could turn around and work with two people on a rearward row, but any setup where a common device or equipment was being used would defeat the practicability of this action.

What is therefore needed is a seating system that has a higher density of seating, less angular row and column travel by the instructor to walk from the lecture area and around the room, and a seating method which can facilitate work group actions, especially around equipment or other common items of interest. The needed seating solution should be easily integratable into odd sized room and have the ability to adjust to different sized rooms to provide a flexible solution which maintains increased seating density along with free movement around the seating arrangement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The seating table and arrangement of the invention involves a table which is preferably six sided, having two parallel sides and two main angled sides, along with two oppositely located abbreviated width sides which provides a number of advantages, including reduced width arrangements as well as a softening of the harshness of the table end. A rounded edge is also possible. The table's two main angled sides have an angle with respect to the shorter of the two main parallel sides of from about one hundred twenty five degrees to about one hundred forty five degrees. The table will seat two persons at the shorter main parallel side and one person at each of the two main angled sides.

In a room arrangement of the tables, the larger of the two parallel sides is directed toward the podium with the tables preferably arranged in a somewhat circular orientations. Tables along the center of the room are angled (taken with respect to the larger of the two parallel sides) perpendicular to the podium in a generally straight line and with tables to the side being angled slightly toward the centerline of the room, although generally directed toward the podium. In a basic layout three general columns of tables include the above orientation. In a room one size narrower, the center column or line of tables may be removed. In a still narrower room, the pair of lines of tables may be removed and replaced with the center line of tables.

In rooms where three columns or rows away from the podium are present, each additional measure of length may be accompanied incrementally by adding two side rank tables and then a center rank table, and so on. For wider rooms having more than three rows or ranks extending in a direction from the podium the additions may be had in accord with repeating whole or partial sets. Several examples will illustrate the smaller layouts.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention, its configuration, construction, and operation will be best further described in the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is a top view looking down onto a table of the invention and identifying the seating arrangement, dimensions and angles of the table;

FIG. 2 is a plan view illustrating one possible configuration for the table seen in FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 illustrates two of the tables in FIG. 1 with their first main longer sides in an opposing relationship to form a pod;

FIG. 4 illustrates a technique for adjacent location of the tables of FIGS. 1-3 to form a long table orientation;

FIG. 5 illustrates one possible classroom configuration including the tables of FIGS. 1-4 arranged within a generally square nominal seating area and not including a narrow rectangular lecture area;

FIG. 6 illustrates another possible classroom configuration including the tables of FIGS. 1-5 arranged within a more rectangular nominal seating area and not including a narrow rectangular lecture area;

FIG. 7 illustrates another possible classroom configuration including the tables of FIGS. 1-6 arranged in a series of radial sections with integration of a lecture area into the seating area;

FIG. 8 illustrates the manufacture of the table of the invention as a pair of half tables; and

FIG. 9 illustrates manufacture of the table of the invention as having a central rectangular area supported by legs and a pair table leaves which afford the adults seated at the angled sides more leg room and less obstruction from table legs.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The description and operation of the invention will be best initiated with reference to FIG. 1, which is a perspective view of a table 21. Table 21 has a first main longer side 23 and a second main shorter side 25 which is parallel and opposite to the first main longer side 23.

Table 21 has a first angled side 27 adjacent to the second main shorter side 25 and a second angled side 29 adjacent to the second main shorter side 25. As is shown, the first angled side 27 forms an angle α with respect to the second main shorter side 25. The second angled side 29 form an angle β with respect to the second main shorter side 25. Although the angles α and β are shown as being the same for both of the angled sides 27 and 29, these angles may be different to accommodate different combinational schemes. A first shortened end side 31 is shown as being a transition located between the first main longer side 23 and the first angled side 27, and can be of any shape. Likewise a second shortened end side 33 is shown as being located between the first main longer side 23 and the second angled side 29. First and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 lengthen the effective area in front of first and second angled sides 27 and 29.

For purposes of discussion a series of four shapes are shown in a location about the table 21. These shapes represent chairs, with a chair 41 located in front of the first angled side 27, a chair 43 located in front of one portion of second main shorter side 25, a chair 45 located in front of the other portion of second main shorter side 25, and a chair 47 located in front of the second angled side 29.

As has been discussed, the angles α and β may preferably be from about one hundred twenty five degrees to about one hundred forty five degrees. The table 21 shown have angles α and β of about one hundred forty degrees. From the geometry shown, as the angles α and β become larger for a given main overall length and width of table 21, the widths of the first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 become larger.

With respect for use with Adults, the distance between the first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 may be between about seven feet to about nine feet and may preferably be about seven and a half feet for higher density seating objectives. The first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 may be about four to about 7 inches and may preferably be about five inches for higher density seating objectives.

The shape of the table 21, and the first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 provide a number of advantages. First, a series of potential peripheral table leg locations 51 are shown. A potential center table leg location 53 is shown in the case where the table 21 must hold extremely heavy equipment and depending upon the materials of construction. Table leg locations 51 and 53 are shown through an upper surface 55 of the table 21. Second, taken from the viewpoint of the persons seated at chairs 41 and 47, the provision first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 gives them a significant measure of table surface 55 forward and away from second main shorter side 25. This gives a significant advantage over a straight trapezoidal shaped table which would otherwise allow the persons seated at chairs 41 and 47 to have almost no significant surface 55 in front of them at the side opposite second main shorter side 25. With some adjustment for the size of the table, and generally speaking, the width of the first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 give about the same addition surface in front of the persons seated in chairs 41 and 43 before the loss of table surface 55 due to the presence of the relatively angled first main longer side 23.

Other preferred design parameters are as follows. the second main shorter side 25 be from 0.5 to 0.75 times the length of the first main longer side 23. The width of table 21 should vary between 0.18 to 0.31 time its total length. The first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 should vary from five percent to twenty five percent of the first main longer side 23, unless it is modified as a curve or other shape to provide additional effective forward area to persons seated in front of the first and second angled sides 27 and 29. Even if it is modified as a curve or some other shape, the distance between the second main shorter side 25 and the point at which the first and second angled sides 27 and 29 begin their deviation from linearity should still vary between from five percent to twenty five percent of the first main longer side 23. This is so that persons seated in front of the first and second angled sides 27 and 29 will have some minimum acceptable amount of forward area with which to comfortably have the materials on the table 21 before them.

Referring to FIG. 2, a plan view of one embodiment of table 21 is seen as having a thickness of material as a table top 61, and a series of four legs 63, and further having a skirt 65 of enhanced strength. The plan view of the table 21 seen in FIG. 2 is of the types which might be found in a lab. Further, the use of legs 63 in conjunction with a skirt 65 for strength is but one example of the provision of standing support. Other configuration of table legs and support can be had. For example, the table top 61 can be thicker, with the skirt 65 eliminated and the legs 63 being individually vertically bolted on.

Before beginning a discussion of the potential classroom configurations for a lecture type orientation, it will be emphasized that where the tables 21 are not bolted to the floor, that is, where they are left in movable position, that they can be arranged together to form a “pod” orientation. Referring to FIG. 3, two tables 21 have been positions such that their first main longer sides 23 oppose each other to make an effective eight seat pod 71. The ability to use the table 21 in this and other configurations is a distinct advantage.

Referring to FIG. 4, one of the tables 21 is shown in formation with another table 21 to make a long effective table surface. The presence of the first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 help to give a natural break. As before, the second main shorter side 25 should be able to seat two people, while the first main longer side 23 will likely be able to seat up to three people in a pinch.

Referring to FIG. 5 a classroom, lecture hall or meeting room, any of which will hereinafter referred to as a classroom is shown as classroom 81. Classroom 81 has a nominal seating area 83 of about twenty-five feet deep by twenty-seven and one half feet wide. A dashed line 85 separates an additional five foot deep lecture area 87 from the nominal seating area 83 with a two foot deep lecture table 89. The tables 21 can be considered schematic forms, but the orientation and spacing shown enables a good amount of walking room and nearly three and a half feet of chair sliding space from any position on any table 21.

To compare with the seating density cited earlier for a fifteen by fifteen foot room (two hundred twenty five square feet), it can be seen that where each table seats four people, that the capacity of the room is thirty six people. This compares to the twenty-four adults cited above for the case in which regular rectangular tables were placed. In addition, each adult in the classroom 81 of FIG. 5 has a minimum spacing rearwardly of each seating position of about three and a half feet for eight positions and more for the remaining twenty eight people. Thus, the configuration shown in FIG. 5 is slightly larger (31 feet by 27½; feet, about 852 square feet) than the previously cited examples, its seating density is comparable (95% to 110%) to those utilizing rectangular tables and it represents an increase in seating capacity of from about 36/25 (150%) to about 36/30 (120%) over the use of rectangular tables.

Note that FIG. 5 uses a center column of three tables 21 oriented toward the center of the lecture area 87, with a pair of side columns of tables 21 directed at nearly a forty five degree turn toward the centerline of the room and generally toward the center of the lecture area 87. This topology/motif enables the lecturer easy access to any point in the room through a myriad of paths either through or around each of the tables 21 or along the walls. This results in easier individual instruction ability and increased student command and control. The teacher can command the students at the table by stepping in front of it, and can easily address the group who would naturally be facing the instructor. Further, for group work, the students are already angled toward each other and can all see each other and more effectively communicate with each other.

Referring to FIG. 6, a classroom 91 is shown which has a nominal seating area 93 of about eighteen feet wide by twenty-one feet deep. A dashed line 95 separates an additional five foot deep lecture area 97 from the nominal seating area 93 with a two foot deep lecture table 99. Here, only a pair of side rows of tables 21 directed at nearly a forty five degree angle toward the centerline of the room and generally toward the center of the lecture area 97. This topology/motif does not enable as easy lecturer access, but might if the center space between the tables 21 was expanded.

Using rough math, this room is three quarters the size of a twenty five by twenty five classroom, yet it seats the same twenty four students, a seating density of about nineteen and one half square feet per student. This seating density represents about 115% (22.5/19.5) of the seating density cited earlier for the SINGLE side wall access room utilizing three rows of five rectangular tables pushed against one side and 133% (26/19.5) of the seating density for the double sided aisle example cited earlier.

Referring to FIG. 7, a classroom 101 is shown which has a nominal seating area 103 of about twenty five feet wide by about twenty five feet deep. Unlike FIGS. 5 and 6 which had a dedicated five foot deep lecture area, FIG. 7 illustrates the possibility of the elimination of the lecture area and the use of an additional table 21 placed at the center of a forward most curving row of tables 21 to serve as lecture table 105.

FIG. 7 illustrates that the tables 21 can be placed into curving rows which can approximate the curved seating style of a lecture hall. The rear sides of the adults sitting at adjacent tables would have seat rear corners that would either touch or come close to touching. However, the additional area needed for the lecture area is eliminated.

In the earlier examples utilizing rectangular tables, the square footage per adult ranged from 26 square feet to twenty two and one half square feet. Arranged as in FIG. 7, the same six hundred and twenty five square foot room will accommodate thirty six students, increasing the seating capacity from 24, using rectangular tables, to thirty six students, an increase of ( 36/24) 150%. The seating density of this room, arranged as inn FIG. 7, would be about ( 625/36) or seventeen and one half square feet per student. This represents an increase in seating density of from (22½/17.5) 129% to (26/17.5) 149% over the traditional linear arrangements of rectangular tables cited earlier.

One difference between the examples of the conventional rectangular table and the efficiencies of FIGS. 5 and 6 is the elimination of the five foot by twenty-five foot lecture spaces 87 and 97 in the configuration shown in FIG. 7. With this factor in mind, the thirty six adults seated in the configuration of FIG. 7 save 125/36=3.47 square feet per adult by moving the lecture area and associated table 105 within the confines of the nominal seating area. By incorporating this concept of embedding the lecture space int the seating area a room with the configuration of FIG. 6 would realize an additional space of savings of (18 by 5) or ninety square feet, or 3.75 square feet per student. This incorporation would bring the least configuration of FIG. 6 down to (19.5-3.75) about fifteen and three quarters square feet per student, representing a space savings over the rectangular table case of about (22.5/15.75) 145% efficiency savings.

In cases where larger rooms are available, the layout seen in FIGS. 5 and 6 should be duplicated to the extent possible with greater depth rooms by adding an additional center line table 21 and a pair of opposing side tables 21. FIG. 5 can thus be thought of has having a standard row of a pair of outside tables 21 angled at about forty five degrees with respect to the first main longer side 23 directed perpendicular to the lecture area 87.

Where wider rooms are encountered, especially a room where the width is great and yet the lecture area 87 must be located along the longest length of the room, the angles of the tables 21 can be adjusted. For example if two rooms as seen in Figure five were placed adjacent each other, and having a lecture area laterally centered, and referring to FIG. 3, the left most line of tables along the left wall would probably remain the same, while the center rank of tables now shown oriented to the lecture table 89 would be turned about twenty two degrees to the right. The right most rank might be turned from twenty two degrees to the right to about forty five degrees to the right. The mirror configuration would be achieved for the other side of the room.

Referring to FIG. 8, a pair of half tables including a left half table 121 and a right half table 123 are shown. Half tables 121 and 123 can be manufactured instead of the table 21 seen in FIGS. 1-7. The advantages include the enhanced ability to form a square table using the matching technique seen in FIG. 4, as well as the ability for the user to only have to deal with a table which is about half the size and weight of table 21, except for the additional legs as seen from the increased number of leg locations 51.

Half tables 121 and 123 have the same top features as were seen for table 21 except that instead of first main longer side 23, left half table 121 has a first partial main longer side 131 and right half table 123 has a second partial main longer side 133. Instead of second main shorter side 25, left half table 121 has a first partial main shorter side 135 and right half table 123 has a second partial main shorter side 137. Both the half tables 121 and 123 have rectangular sides 139. Also shown is a pair of rounded edges including first rounded edge 141 replacing first shortened end side 31, and second rounded edge 143 replacing second shortened end side 33.

Referring to FIG. 9, a table 151 has a shape similar to that seen for table 21 but achieved in a different way. The table 151 includes a main rectangular section 153 having a first folding leaf 155 and a second folding leaf 157. Folding leaf 155 includes the structures of first angled side 27 and first shortened end side 31, while the Folding leaf 157 includes the structures of second side 29 and second shortened end side 33.

Main rectangular section 153 includes spaced apart leg locations 51, and hinge boundaries 161 and 163 are seen. The first main longer side 23 seen in table 21, is divided among the a first folding leaf 155 second folding leaf 157. Rounded edges 141 and 143 can be used to replace first and second shortened end sides 31 and 33 on any of the tables 21, 121 or 151.

While the present invention has been described in terms of an advantageous table and several advantageous room arrangements to utilize the table to improve seating efficiency and other classroom quality aspects, the principles of the present invention may be applied in any situation where seating efficiency and flexibility is desired.

Although the invention has been derived with reference to particular illustrative embodiments thereof, many changes and modifications of the invention may become apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, included within the patent warranted hereon are all such changes and modifications as may reasonably and properly be included within the scope of this contribution to the art.