Tools at School, Redesigning the Classroom

I think we can all remember sitting in a classroom at some point wishing it was more comfortable, less bland, and better designed.  Well, a group of kids at the School at Columbia University made that dream a reality when they were given the opportunity to partner up with furniture manufacturer Bernhardt Design and top-seeded designers from Aruliden in order to reinvent the classroom.  Finally, someone to listen!

The project, Tools at Schools, aims to teach children that design is not just about the way things look, but also about making everyday objects work better. There is no group better qualified to re-imagine the classroom than the students who spend hours a day sitting in the chairs, using the desks, and lugging around the backpacks and supplies.  The result?  A great looking school furniture collection that includes ergonomic chairs and desks, which easily hold pens, pencils and books.

The roughly four dozen students who participated in the project learned the entire design and manufacturing process—from rough sketches, to 3D plans to shaping the first prototype. The experience of being involved from beginning to end, allowed the kids to work with real-life materials and develop creative skills through real-world experience in the fields of communication, art, mathematics and science.  After 25 weeks, the fruits of this student labor have moved beyond the classroom laboratory, debuting at ICFF last week and moving on to the Museum of Arts and Design in November 2011.

“I used to think that design was really exotic and abstract,” wrote one student in a testimonial. “The first thing I would think of when I heard the word ‘design’ was fashion. It amazes me to think back and see how off I was.”


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