|Publication number||US20020073900 A1|
|Application number||US 09/962,860|
|Publication date||Jun 20, 2002|
|Filing date||Sep 25, 2001|
|Priority date||Sep 25, 2000|
|Publication number||09962860, 962860, US 2002/0073900 A1, US 2002/073900 A1, US 20020073900 A1, US 20020073900A1, US 2002073900 A1, US 2002073900A1, US-A1-20020073900, US-A1-2002073900, US2002/0073900A1, US2002/073900A1, US20020073900 A1, US20020073900A1, US2002073900 A1, US2002073900A1|
|Inventors||Ayse Birsel, Robert Beck, Philip Carpenter|
|Original Assignee||Ayse Birsel, Robert Beck, Philip Carpenter|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (8), Classifications (11), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
 This application claims the benefit of the filing date pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §119(e) of Provisional Application Serial No. 60/235,778, filed Sep. 25, 2000, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference.
 The present invention relates to the field of furniture systems. In particular, the present invention relates to a furniture system having easy assembly and improved functionality.
 In recent years, the concept of open office planning which utilizes free standing furniture systems for defining various office and workstation areas has become increasingly popular. However, it is becoming increasingly necessary for furniture systems to allow for rapid changeover from one arrangement to another. Moreover, these systems should be capable of easy assembly and disassembly. In addition, such systems must be flexible enough to provide for different work activities and tools.
 Previous systems have failed to adequately provide for a furniture system that allows for flexible and efficient use of a workspace while also being capable of easy assembly and disassembly. For example, it has been know to erect permanent or semi-permanent space dividing walls and then to furnish each individual work area created by these walls with furniture. The furniture used in these systems has been of the conventional type, entirely or substantially independent of the walls. Such arrangements were tolerable as long as the activities performed within the workspace remained relatively static over long periods of time.
 Although the use of permanent walls and the more recent use of systems furniture are viable solutions for many office environments, some recent business environments have functional and esthetic requirements which cannot be met by such a product. In particular, the increasing use of computer equipment and work teams results in a need for an extremely flexible system. Many current furniture systems do meet these requirements.
 Therefore, there is a need for an improved furniture system that is versatile, of low cost and capable of easy assembly and disassembly.
 The present invention is directed to a worksurface support assembly for use with a worksurface. The worksurface assembly includes a plurality of legs extending upward from a base surface to a bottom surface of the worksurface. A plurality of crossbeams are connected to the legs. A plurality of clamps interconnect the crossbeams and the legs such that the legs are capable of angular movement relative to one another prior to connection to the worksurface.
 According to another aspect of the invention, a dividing member for a workspace is disclosed. The dividing member includes a first wing and a second wing. The wings are attached to a support member adjacent to a worksurface and are formed in a symmetrical shape. The wings extend outward away from each other in order to provide a user with visual privacy.
 According to yet another aspect of the invention, a worksurface assembly is provided. The worksurface has a first appearance on a first side and a second appearance on a second side. The first appearance is different than the second appearance. A plurality of legs extend upward from a base surface to a bottom surface of the worksurface. A plurality of crossbeams connect to the legs. A plurality of clamps interconnect the crossbeams and the legs.
 The present invention is directed to a furniture system that is versatile, of low cost and capable of easy assembly and disassembly. These and other advantages of the invention will be best understood in view of the attached drawings and the following detailed description.
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a furniture system constructed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side view of a furniture system constructed in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a canopy, wings and support member as shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a partially exploded view of a worksurface assembly as shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 is a partially exploded view of a clamp as shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 6A is an interior view of a first portion of the clamp as shown in FIG.
FIG. 6B is an interior view of second portion of the clamp as shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 7 is a front perspective view of a soft-sided storage member that can be implemented with the furniture system of FIG. 1;
FIG. 8 is a rear view of the soft-sided storage member shown in FIG. 7;
FIG. 9 is an interior view of the soft-sided storage member shown in FIG. 7; and
FIG. 10 is a front perspective of the interior framework of the soft-sided storage member of FIG. 7.
FIG. 1 illustrates a furniture system 10 in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention. The furniture system 10 includes a canopy 12, wings 14 and the worksurface assembly 16. With particular reference to FIG. 3, the canopy 12 and wings 14 are best illustrated. The canopy 12 includes a canopy frame 20 that forms a generally curved shape that extends over the worksurface assembly 16. The cover 22 extends substantially along the canopy frame 20. The canopy frame 20 is preferably formed from steel. The cover 22 is attached to the canopy frame 20 through a sleeve attached to an outer edge of the cover 22. The sleeve receives the canopy frame 20. The cover 22 is preferably formed from a polyester material although other materials known to those of ordinary skill in the art may be implemented. The canopy 12 helps define the work area for a user and prevent glare in the work area. It should also be recognized that the canopy 12 can take a wide variety of shapes other than the specific shape illustrated in the present embodiment.
 A canopy mounting member 28 interconnects the canopy 12 to a support member 30. The canopy mounting member 28 fits over the top portion 32 of the support member 30. The canopy mounting member 28 is preferably formed from an ABS plastic material. The canopy mounting member 28 includes screws 36 which secure lower portions of the canopy frame 20 to the canopy mounting member 28.
 Wings 14 are attached to the support member 30 beneath the canopy 12 and above the worksurface assembly 16. The wings 14 include a first wing I member 44 and a second opposing wing member 46. The first wing member 44 and second wing member 46 are symmetrically shaped in an illustrated embodiment. However, it should be recognized that other shapes may be implemented. Each wing member 44, 46 includes a wing frame 50 preferably formed from steel. A cover 52 is attached to the wing frame 50 as a sock which slides over the wing frame 50. However, a sleeve could also be attached to the cover 52 in order to receive the wing frame 50. The cover 52 is preferably formed from a polyester material although other materials known to those of ordinary skill in the art may be implemented. The wings 14 provide visual privacy for a worker working at the worksurface assembly 16. The wing member 44, 46 may be constructed from other materials in order to provide additional functional characteristics such as being tackable or formed in part from a marker board material.
 Wing mounting members 58 interconnect the wings 14 to the support member 30. The wing mounting members 58 fit around an intermediate portion 59 of the support member 30. The wing mounting members 58 are preferably formed from two portions and include screws 60 which tighten the two portions together and secure the wing mounting members 58 to the support member 30. The wing mounting members 58 are preferably formed from ABS plastic. The support member 30 further includes a lower portion 64 that is attached to a foot 66.
 Referring to FIG. 4, an exploded view of the worksurface assembly 16 is illustrated. The worksurface assembly 16 includes an adjustable monitor support 70. The monitor support surface 72 has a generally circular shape in the illustrated embodiment. A monitor support rod 74 extends downward from beneath the monitor support surface 72. The monitor support rod 74 includes a plurality of vertically aligned apertures 76 that are adapted to receive a pin 78. The pin 78 also passes through a corresponding set of apertures in the leg 80 in order to secure the monitor support 70 in a selected position. The monitor support 70 can be vertically adjusted by removing the pin 78 and realigning the apertures 76 with the apertures in the leg 80 in order to provide a new height for the monitor support 70. The leg 80 is connected to a foot 82 in order to further support the worksurface assembly 16. The foot 82 includes opposing portions to provide support for the worksurface assembly 16.
 Clamps or knuckles 100 are attached to an intermediate portion of leg 80. Each clamp 100 includes a male member 102 and a female member 104 and is preferably formed from ABS plastic. The clamp 100 is best illustrated in FIGS. 5-6. The male member 102 includes an outer surface 106 and outwardly projecting teeth 108. The female member 104 includes an outer surface 110 and a plurality of outwardly projecting tabs 112. The tabs 112 are sized to engage the teeth 108 in order to thereby secure the male member 102 to the female member 104. As best seen in FIG. 6, bosses 120 are adapted to receive a fastening element such as screws 121 in order to further secure the male member 102 to the female member 104. The fastening elements 121 also pass through the crossbeams 124 in order to secure the clamp 100 thereto. Projections 122, in the clamp 100, engage the leg 80 in order to interconnect the crossbeams 124 to the leg 80. The projections 122 are sized to engage the leg 80 while allowing for rotation of clamp 100 relative to the leg 80. A crossbeam 124 and clamp 100 arrangement may also be used to interconnect the worksurface assembly 16 to the support member 30 as shown in FIG. 2.
 Opposing front legs 134 are also connected to the crossbeams 124. Clamps 100 are used to interconnect the front legs 134 to the crossbeams 124. Feet 140 are connected to the base of the front legs 134. A fastening mechanism such as the screws 142 are used to secure the feet 140 to the front legs 134.
 The assembly of front legs 134 and the rear leg 80 is transported prior to assembly of the entire worksurface assembly 16. The clamps 100 are attached to the crossbeams 124 and the legs 134, 80 prior to shipment. The clamp 100 can rotate relative to the legs 134, 80, particularly the rear leg 80. As a result, the legs 134, 80 and the crossbeams 124 can be collapsed into a relatively small area for purposes of shipment or storage. Upon assembly, the front legs 134 are simply rotated into the position illustrated in the Figures.
 The worksurface 150 is attached to the front legs 134 and rear leg 80. A collar 154 is attached to the top portion 156 of the legs 134, 80. The top portion 156 of legs 134 is received within an opening corresponding to the opening 160 in the top surface 162 of the worksurface 150. A plate 166 and a fastening element such as the screw 170 are used to secure the assembly together. In particular, the plate 166 fits within the opening 160 and the screw 170 passes into a boss within the front legs 134. As a result, the worksurface 150 is attached to the legs 134 from the top surface 162 thereof. A worker, therefore, does not have to attach the worksurface 150 from the bottom surface which sometimes results in a rather awkward assembly process.
 The worksurface 150 includes an opening on the bottom surface (not shown) substantially corresponding with the opening 160. The worksurface 150 can optionally include a laminate or other element having a first appearance on the top surface 162 and a laminate or other element having a second and separate appearance on the bottom surface. As a result, a single worksurface 150 can provide two different appearances. A user would simply flip the worksurface 150 over to provide a separate appearance. In addition to providing a versatile worksurface 150, less inventory would be necessary for a supplier to maintain such worksurfaces with a plurality of appearances.
 FIGS. 9-12 illustrate a storage member 200 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. The storage member 200 includes a generally soft-sided and flexible outer shell 202. The outer shell 202 is preferably formed from CODURA™ although other materials known to those of ordinary skill in the art may implemented. An aperture 204 provides access to the handle 206. The top surface 210 includes a pocket 212 that can accommodate a card in order to identify the user of the storage member 200. The top surface 210 is connected to the front surface 220, a first side surface 222, a second side surface 224 and a rear surface 226 through the use of zipper 230. The top surface 210 may be partially detached from the other surfaces, as shown in FIG. 9, in order to provide a user with access to the interior 232 of the storage member 200. The front surface 220 includes a front surface portion 238 that is partially detachable through the use of a second zipper 240. The front surface portion 238 provides a user with access to the interior 232 through the front of the storage member 200. A resilient string 244 also provides an area capable of enclosing a user's garment such as a coat. The first side surface 222 includes a plurality of pockets 250. The pockets 250 are preferably formed from a polyester mesh to allow a user to view the interior of the pockets 250. However, other materials known to those of ordinary skill in the art may implemented. The pockets 250 illustrate an embodiment capable of holding elements such as water bottles, work tools such pens, pencils, paper, cell phones, pagers, cd cases, diskettes and other work elements known to those of ordinary skill in the art. The second side surface 224 includes second pockets 254 sized to accommodate files and the like. The rear surface 226 includes a third pocket 258 sized to accommodate a plurality of files or other relatively large objects. The third pocket 258 is also capable of holding work-in-progress files arranged vertically and books or binders.
 The storage member 200 also includes two rear wheels 260 and two forward support stands 262. The rear wheels 260 provide for easy movement of the storage member 200. With particular reference to FIG. 12, the interior framework 270 of the storage members 200 is illustrated. The interior framework 270 includes the handle 206 and a rear axle 280 that is interconnected to the wheels 260. In addition, the framework includes the forward support stands 262. A file attachment extension 282 is also located in an upper portion of the framework 270. Cross rods 290 may be used to provide two surfaces upon which a form may be inserted for the support of work materials.
 The storage member 200 provides significant advantage over previous storage members in that it avoids the use of wood or metal siding. In addition, it does not require the somewhat complicated mechanism for draw slides as used in previous storage members.
 Variations and modifications of the embodiments disclosed in this specification may be made without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention. For example, the present invention may be implemented with worksurfaces of varying shapes and sizes. In addition, the appearance of the canopy and wings may also be modified. The aforementioned description is intended to be illustrative rather than limiting and it is understood that the scope of the invention is set forth by the following claims.
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|International Classification||A47B13/06, A47B17/00, F16B12/40|
|Cooperative Classification||A47B2200/0085, A47B13/06, F16B12/40, A47B17/003|
|European Classification||A47B13/06, F16B12/40, A47B17/00B|
|Feb 19, 2002||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: HERMAN MILLER INC., MICHIGAN
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:BIRSEL, AYSE;BECK, ROBERT;CARPENTER, PHILIP;REEL/FRAME:012600/0362;SIGNING DATES FROM 20011215 TO 20011218