There are plenty of young designers showing their work at this year’s ICFF. However, the youngest of all is a team of 44 grade eight classmates from The School at Columbia University, who worked with Bernhardt Design to reimagine classroom furniture. Although they aren’t trained as industrial designers, “the kids had amazing ideas,” said Rinat Aruh of New York design firm Aruliden, which helped consolidate the students’ concepts and shape the final prototypes for the show.
The project is named Tools at Schools. Working from a wide variety of models developed by the students, Aruliden put the final touches on a handsome desk with a slot for trays that hold tools for different subjects – for instance, a set of paints for art class, a small whiteboard for math, or an insert with pockets for science test tubes. A matching springy chair, intended to help placate restless kids, has a wire basket on the back legs to hold textbooks. A set of lockers has plenty of holes for ventilation (many of the kids expressed concern about where to store stinky gym clothes), as well as carefully designed storage bins, and mail slots on each door for leaving notes. Although it’s only a concept for now, the collection could help make school so much cooler.