Tools at Schools

The classroom for kids designed by kids

Tools at Schools is a program designed to teach students the value of design as a problemsolving tool. During this program, the students are asked to use design to think in new and creative ways to challenge the status quo of everyday objects, experiences, services or systems.


DAY ONE. Design is all around us, used daily as methodology to create real-world solutions, whether we realize it or not. Utilizing the process of design, students were challenged to conceive solutions for their everyday environments. Working in a group of three, they were assigned the locker, desk or chair. We got them thinking… what is design?


WEEK SIX. The students began the process by educating themselves on the competitive landscape – researching available products and identifying the environments where products will be used as well as the audiences that will use them. Based on these insights, they collected inspiration and articulated their big ideas which ultimately defined the physical designs.


WEEK TWELVE. The students developed their big ideas into visual concepts in both sketch and model format. Through trial and error, they ultimately distilled their ideas into even stronger concepts. Presenting their models and ideas to a panel of judges, the students demonstrated not only the final product but shared their entire experience.


WEEK FOURTEEN. The students provided valuable insights and inspirational ideas about furniture in the classroom. The next task was to convert these ideas into products that could be manufactured. Everything the students said and presented was considered and filtered. The most collective objectives were identified, and the 3D interpretation of their work was revealed to the group.


WEEK TWENTY-FIVE. After the 3D designs were presented to the students, technical files were produced and provided to Bernhardt Design. From their North Carolina manufacturing facility, the Bernhardt Design team tested and finessed materials, forms, and colors to create final prototypes. The students visited the factory to see first-hand their ideas come to life.


FINAL DAY. Hard work finally paid off, as the final products and the Tools at Schools project are revealed to the public for the first time at the 2011 ICFF. Family, faculty and friends alike were on-hand to see the prototypes, hear the students' stories and experience the entire process. Not to mention witness the student's win the 2011 Editor's Choice for Best Design Schools!