What happens when kids are given the freedom to design school furniture?

Good things, discovered industrial design firm Aruliden and furniture firm Bernhardt Design. Last fall, the two companies collaborated with eighth graders from The School at Columbia University on a project called Tools at Schools. Employees of Aruliden taught students about the design process, then students were given the opportunity to participate in the process Final Locker Designby designing a school locker, desk or chair.

The school jumped on board with the project, integrating Tools at Schools across the curriculum. Students calculated ratios in math, investigated materials in science and perfected presentation skills in English. They used this knowledge to help them conduct research, build prototypes and create detailed PowerPoints.

Aruliden and Bernhardt Design were so impressed with the students’ concepts that they decided to build prototypes of the final designs to exhibit at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in May.

Tools at Schools proves that when students apply information they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems, amazing things can happen.

Update: The School at Columbia University won the 2011 ICFF Editors Award for Design School on May 14 at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair.

Click here to visit the official Tools at Schools website