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Title:
FURNITURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention provides a storage furniture unit (20) for use in conjunction with a furniture item (40) providing a worksurface (42), the storage furniture unit (20) having a first storage portion (22) which is arranged below the worksurface (42) in use, and a second storage portion (24) which is arranged above the worksurface (42) in use.



Inventors:
Fowler, Christopher John (Surrey, GB)
Forsyth, Alexander James (Hampshire, GB)
Application Number:
12/812372
Publication Date:
07/14/2011
Filing Date:
01/12/2009
Assignee:
FC Brown (Steel Equipment) Limited (Woking, Surrey, GB)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
108/33, 312/330.1, 312/352
International Classes:
A47B88/04; A47B13/00; A47B96/00; A47B96/02; A47B97/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050264141Furniture containing a safeDecember, 2005Whitall
20010043032Secretary with work surface wingsNovember, 2001Kelley et al.
20030067257Pull-out guide fittings for drawersApril, 2003Gasser
20080297018SHOWER STORAGE CABINETDecember, 2008Segal
20090251037Flush-mounted guiding arrangement for furniture components, in particular drawers in the body of furniture piecesOctober, 2009Berger
20100013364Carriage assemblyJanuary, 2010Garth
20090267461DEVICE FRONT PANELOctober, 2009Salloum et al.
20080129163TRI-FOLD MIRROR ORGANIZERJune, 2008Greiner
20090121593Vanity Organizer TableMay, 2009Greiner
20080079341Fiber Distribution Hub with Dual Swing FramesApril, 2008Anderson et al.
20030098635Refrigerator pan organizerMay, 2003Berezovskiy et al.



Primary Examiner:
DOYLE, RYAN A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BANNER & WITCOFF, LTD. (1100 13th STREET, N.W. SUITE 1200 WASHINGTON DC 20005-4051)
Claims:
1. A storage furniture unit for use in conjunction with a furniture item providing a worksurface, the storage furniture unit having a first storage portion which is arranged below the worksurface in use, and a second storage portion which is arranged above the worksurface in use, wherein the second storage portion comprises an internal storage area, and wherein access to the internal storage area is transverse to the main longitudinal axis of the storage furniture unit.

2. A storage furniture unit according to claim 1 which is generally in the form of a mobile pedestal unit.

3. A storage furniture unit according to claim 1 in which the first storage portion comprises at least one of a drawer, cupboard, shelf and cubbyhole.

4. A storage furniture unit according to claim 1 in which the second storage portion provides external storage.

5. A storage furniture unit according to claim 4 in which the second storage portion comprises a shelf.

6. A storage furniture unit according to claim 4 in which the second storage portion includes at least one of a drawer, cupboard, cubbyhole, stationery accessory container, and stationery holder.

7. A storage furniture unit according to claim 1 in which the second storage portion includes a lid.

8. A storage furniture unit according to claim 1 in which the second storage portion is arranged to receive additional storage means.

9. A storage furniture unit according to claim 8 in which the second storage portion is arranged to receive a box or similar storage means.

10. A storage furniture unit according to claim 1 in which the second storage portion is arranged to provide screening between adjacent users.

11. A storage furniture unit according to claim 10 in which the second storage portion includes a screening element which can be extended upwardly.

12. A storage furniture unit according to claim 11 in which the screening element is provided by a lid which is hinged along one edge of the second storage portion so that when the lid is opened it extends vertically along that edge.

13. A storage furniture unit according to claim 11 in which the screening element is fixed to an upper surface of the second storage portion.

14. A storage furniture unit according to claim 1 in which the first and second storage portions are spaced apart whereby the worksurface of a furniture unit is received in a gap between the first and second portions of the storage furniture unit in use.

15. A storage furniture unit according to claim 14 in which the first and second storage portions are spaced apart by a supporting element of the storage furniture unit.

16. A storage furniture unit according to claim 15 in which the supporting element comprises a panel which covers the gap between the first and second portions of the storage furniture unit.

17. A combination of a storage furniture unit in accordance with claim 1 and a furniture unit having a worksurface such as a desk or table.

18. A storage furniture unit for use in conjunction with a furniture item providing a worksurface, the storage furniture unit having a first storage portion which is arranged below the worksurface in use, and a second storage portion which is arranged above the worksurface in use; wherein the second storage portion is arranged to provide screening between adjacent users, includes a screening element which can be extended upwardly, and wherein the screening element is provided by a lid which is hinged along one edge of the second storage portion so that when the lid is opened it extends vertically along that edge.

19. A storage furniture unit according to claim 18, wherein the screening element is coupled to an upper surface of the second storage portion.

20. A storage furniture unit according to claim 19, wherein the first and second storage portions are spaced apart by a supporting element of the storage furniture unit and the supporting element comprises a panel which covers the gap between the first and second portions of the storage furniture unit.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to the field of furniture, and in particular, though not exclusively, to furniture for use in office working environments.

BACKGROUND

Office working practices have altered dramatically in the last two decades. This has, in large part, been due to changes brought about by advances in communications and information technology. Conventional office workstation layouts are too inflexible to accommodate the changing needs of occupancy and working methodology in the modern office. Many offices which would once have had a cellular layout, are now open plan with workstations only being provided for staff expected in the office on a particular day. There is a need for furniture which facilitates such flexible working patterns. A number of companies produce desks which can be used at different times by different users working in different ways. Temporary boundaries can be easily established between users using movable screen panels.

What has not been generally resolved is the issue of individual and team storage for staff working in such flexible office environments. A conventional mobile pedestal unit is shown in FIG. 1 which is a frontal elevation of the mobile pedestal unit. The mobile pedestal unit 10 is sized to fit under a conventional worksurface provided by a desk or table. Typically in European countries, fixed worksurfaces are 720 mm high. In some countries fixed worksurfaces may be set higher or lower than this according to local standards. In FIG. 1 the nominal fixed worksurface height is represented by dimension X. The mobile pedestal unit 10 comprises storage drawers 12, 14, and 16. The mobile pedestal unit 10 is movable on castors e.g. 18 and 20. In use, the mobile pedestal unit 10 is placed under a desk and whilst it can be moved by a user on the castors, in practice, such mobile pedestal units tend to be semi-permanently located and often do not provide sufficient storage for a typical user in a single unit. Several companies produce trolleys for individual storage which provide greater storage capacity than a conventional mobile pedestal unit. All of these products are intended to be assigned to individuals and parked away in “garage” areas when not in use. More permanent solutions to team storage requirements have been developed by a variety of companies. All of these provide storage under or adjacent to the worksurface.

A number of products comprise a trolley providing a computer monitor support shelf which can be brought over a primary worksurface—for example a desk with the storage below.

Accordingly, there remains a need to provide flexible storage furniture to meet the storage needs of users having a greater storage capacity than conventional mobile pedestal units.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the invention, there is provided a storage furniture unit for use in conjunction with a furniture item providing a worksurface, the storage furniture unit having a first storage portion which is arranged below the worksurface in use, and a second storage portion which is arranged above the worksurface in use.

The storage furniture unit of the invention is advantageous in that it provides significant additional storage capacity compared to conventional mobile pedestal units which only fit below a conventional desk or other furniture item providing a worksurface.

Preferably, the storage furniture unit is arranged so that when used with an associated furniture item providing a worksurface, the first storage portion is arranged below the worksurface of the furniture item, and the second storage portion is arranged above the worksurface. This is termed a “docked” configuration in this specification.

The second storage portion includes an internal storage area, access to which is transverse to the main longitudinal axis of the storage furniture unit. For example, the internal storage area may be arranged so that it is generally at right angles to the main longitudinal axis of the storage furniture unit. In one embodiment when a storage furniture unit of the invention is arranged in a docked configuration, this allows storage of items such as files generally at right angles to a user sitting at the worksurface, which facilitates access to those files by the user. Where the second storage portion includes a drawer, the drawer may be arranged to open generally at right-angles to the main longitudinal axis of the storage furniture unit. Therefore when a storage furniture unit of the invention is in a docked condition, the user sitting at the worksurface can readily open the drawer.

Preferably, the storage furniture unit is generally in the form of a mobile pedestal unit. The first storage portion may provide essentially conventional storage, for example comprising at least one drawer, cupboard, shelf or cubbyhole. Preferably the first storage portion comprises two or three drawers as per an conventional mobile pedestal unit. In a typical embodiment, a lower drawer provides conventional lateral filing storage.

The second storage portion provides internal storage. For example, the second storage portion may include at least one drawer, cupboard, cubbyhole, stationery holder, stationery accessory container, such as a penholder, cupholder, or alternative internal storage. The second storage portion may also provide external storage. For example, the second storage portion may comprise a shelf. The second storage portion may provide a combination of internal and external storage.

The second storage portion may include a lid which is arranged to open vertically to allow access to internal storage within the second storage portion. Such a lid may provide useful privacy, acting as a screen between the user of the storage furniture unit of the invention and other users behind the lid.

A postal slot may be provided allowing mail to be put into the internal storage area. For example, the slot may be provided in a face on the main longitudinal axis of the storage furniture unit, permitting mail to be placed in the internal storage area. This may be advantageous in situations where the user is not in the office and mail can be securely left until their return.

The second storage portion may be arranged to receive additional storage means. For example, the second storage portion may be arranged to receive a box or similar storage means which may be used for particular user effects.

The second storage portion may be arranged to provide screening between adjacent users. For example, the second storage portion may include a screening element which extends upwardly. In one embodiment the screening element is provided by a lid which is hinged along one edge of the second storage portion parallel with the major axis of the storage furniture unit so that when opened it extends vertically along that edge. The lid may control normal user access to the internal storage area. With the lid hinged along one edge of the second storage portion parallel with the major axis of the storage furniture unit, access to the internal storage area is therefore generally transverse to the longitudinal axis of the storage furniture unit, the lid being hinged along the edge of the second storage portion distant from the user when the storage furniture unit of the invention is in the docked condition. Alternative or additional screening elements may be provided which fix to the second storage portion in order to increase the screening.

In one embodiment, the second storage portion may be provided with display means. For example the display means may provide a white board, magnetic board, or pin board. The display means may include storage restraints, for example flexible pans which allow magazines, letters, postcards, etc to be held by the display means. The display means may be provided on a major face of the lid. Preferably, the display means is provided on the inner major face of the lid so that when the lid is closed, the display means is obscured when the storage means is not in use, but is visible to the user when the lid is open, typically acting as a screening element between the user and adjacent colleagues.

The second storage portion may be arranged to provide additional storage, for example on a flat upper surface which acts as a shelf.

Preferably, the first and second storage portions are spaced apart whereby the worksurface of a furniture unit is received in a gap between the first and second portions of the storage furniture unit in use in a docked condition. The first and second storage portions may be spaced apart by a supporting element of the storage furniture unit. The supporting element may comprise a panel which disguises the gap between the first and second storage portions of the storage furniture unit. Preferably the supporting element is flush with the front face of the storage furniture unit.

The storage furniture unit is preferably readily movable by a user. For example, the storage furniture unit may be provided with wheels or castors on which it can be moved.

The storage furniture unit may include means for identifying the user. For example, the storage furniture unit may include a business card holder for receiving a business card of the user.

The storage furniture unit may include lighting. For example internal lighting may be provided for one or more internal storage areas. The storage furniture unit may include means for connection to an external source of electrical power and may, in turn, include power sockets.

When not in use, the storage furniture unit may be simply stored away from the furniture unit providing the worksurface. It is preferred that the storage furniture unit of the invention is shaped so as to fit neatly with other such storage furniture units. For example, the storage furniture unit of the invention may have a relatively simple rectangular outline so that it can be stored closely abutting other such storage furniture units when not in use.

According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a combination of a storage furniture unit in accordance with the first aspect of the invention and a furniture unit having a worksurface such as a desk or table.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Storage furniture units in accordance with the invention will now be described, by way of example only, with reference to the further accompanying drawings FIGS. 2-5 in which:

FIG. 2 is a frontal elevation of a storage furniture unit in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

FIG. 3 is an elevation from one side of the storage furniture unit of FIG. 2;

FIG. 3a is an elevation of the storage furniture unit of FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, from the same side as shown in FIG. 3, in use in conjunction with a desk;

FIG. 4 is a frontal elevation of a storage furniture unit in accordance with another embodiment of the invention; and

FIG. 5 is a elevation from one side of the storage furniture unit of FIG. 4.

SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION

FIG. 2 shows a storage furniture unit 20 in accordance with the invention when seen from the front in elevation and FIG. 3 shows the same storage unit when seen from one side. Conventional worksurface height is designated by line A-A in FIG. 2 and by line B-B in FIG. 3. The storage furniture unit 20 comprises a lower first storage portion generally designated as 22 and an upper second storage portion generally designated as 24. The lower first storage portion 22 includes three generally conventional drawer units designated as 25, 26, and 27 respectively, access to which is controlled by lock 28. The lower drawer units 27 provide lateral file storage. Drawers 25 and 26 are termed “intermediate storage drawers”. The upper second storage portion 24 comprises a box 29 having a lid 30 which, together with the first storage portion 22, provides significantly more internal storage than a conventional mobile pedestal unit of the type shown in FIG. 1. The lid 30 is hinged along an upper edge of the storage box. Normal access to the box 29 is controlled by lock 32. A postal slot 33 is provided in the front face of box 29 allowing mail and other items to be “posted” through the front of the box into the internal storage area. The first and second storage portions 22 and 24 are spaced apart by an element 34 to provide a gap 36 between the respective first and second storage portions. The lid 30 is hingeably connected to either side edge of the box 29 and the lock 32 is centrally mounted for universal use irrespective of the connection side of the lid. Typically, on the opposite side of the box to a user when the storage furniture unit is in a docked condition. For example, if a user is seated to the right of the storage furniture unit shown in FIG. 2 then, as shown in FIG. 2, the lid 30 is hinged on the left-hand edge of the storage box 29. Therefore, the user gains access to the inner storage area provided by the box 29 transversely to the longitudinal axis of the storage furniture unit, i.e. the access going into the page on FIG. 2.

Mobility is provided by conventional castors e.g. 33, and 35.

As shown in particular in FIG. 3a, the storage furniture unit 20 is sized so that the lower storage portion 22 will fit below, and the upper storage portion 24 above, a conventionally sized worksurface, provided by for example a desk 40, the worksurface 42 being received in gap 36.

Typically, a user wishing to work at desk 40 can retrieve the storage furniture unit 20 from a central location, moving it conventionally on its castors, and engage it with the desk as shown in FIG. 3a. Whilst the upper storage portion 24 provides a certain amount of screening of other users behind the storage furniture unit 20 when viewed in the direction of FIG. 3a, the lid 30 can be raised as shown in FIG. 2-3a to provide additional privacy. The underside 31 of lid 30 may be provided with a whiteboard or magnetic board to provide additional functionality. Therefore the white board or magnetic board is visible to a user positioned to the right of the docked condition viewed in the orientation of FIGS. 2 and 3. The additional storage facilities, such as clips, straps and tapes and pockets, may be provided on the underside of lid 30. The storage furniture unit 20 can be readily disengaged from the desk 40 when it is no longer required.

A storage furniture unit 50 in accordance with another embodiment of the invention is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5. The storage furniture unit 50 is generally similar to the storage furniture unit 20 described above, comprising a first lower storage portion 52 which is identical to that of the storage furniture unit 20 but has a different second upper storage portion generally designated as 54. The first and second storage portions are separated by a gap 55 as shown in FIG. 5. The second upper storage portion comprises a lockable box generally designated as 56 which has a door hinged along the edge 58 and locked by lock 60 so that the contents, generally designated as 62, can only be accessed by a user having a key to the lock 60. Access to the box 60 is from a direction generally at right angles to the main longitudinal axis of the storage furniture unit 50. This is convenient for a user who would typically be seated at a desk to the right of the storage furniture unit 50 in use.

Storage furniture unit 50 is used in the same way as storage furniture unit 20, being engaged with a desk in use, such that the desk is received within gap 55 so that the lower first storage portion is arranged below the desk and the upper second storage portion is arranged above the desk. The height of the box 56 provides a degree of privacy for the user in relation to other users behind the box in the direction shown in FIG. 5.

It will be appreciated by the skilled addressee that other storage means may be provided for both the first and second storage portions.







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