Product Design: Coat Hooks

   Windigo was approached to invent, design, and build a new coat hook system for Eaglebrook School. It is not often that someone thinks to ask the architect for a solution to such a problem, but architects are known for "doing it all" – from buildings to furniture – as large as a city plan and as detailed as a cabinet knob, we design at every scale. The coat hooks had to be fun, so students would want to use it; movable, flexible, so no one would get hurt on it; sturdy, so no one would break it; easy to assemble, so many more could be made; unique, so no one else would have one; yet quiet, so it would not detract from the adjacent students’ artwork. With the help of furniture maker Robert Brander, we were able to construct our idea into a tactile product.

    The final design concept for the Coat Hook Wall originated from the need for storage that students would actually want to use, but would neither detract from the simplicity of the hallway nor visually compete with the collections of student artwork that adorn the walls. At first glance, the Interactive Coat Hook Wall appears like a piece of modern artwork itself. Simple, white, and unassuming, it allows the hallways to remain open and blends into its surroundings. That is, until the students bring the wall to life as they enter the building for their classes, meetings, and presentations.

    Students can activate the wall by pushing on one end of a hook to expose the end used for hanging their belongings. Each hook can swing 180 degrees, which, when several are manipulated, can create innumerable variations of wall textures and shadow patterns that change throughout the day as students move through the space and utilize each hook.

    The wall continues to be an interactive and ever changing piece of wall art as students activate the hooks and hang a variety of coats, hats, and scarves throughout the day. The Coat Hook Wall features hooks at different heights to accommodate the varying heights of its middle school age users. When not in use, the hooks can return to their nooks, once again creating a seamless view down the corridor and giving way to student work. Thus, the wall becomes a dynamic, yet simple piece of art work that fluctuates with the students, the weather, and the time of day.