The Best of ICFF: Tools at Schools

ICFF 2011

We saw a plentitude of desk designs on the show floor at this year's International Contemporary Furniture Fair, but ironically the one that stuck out from the rest wasn't designed for home office use, nor designed by one of the usual suspects from the design world. No, our favourite design from this year's ICFF show came from the minds of 44 middle school children...

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The School at Columbia University's Tools at Schools was awarded this year's 2011 ICFF Editors Award for Design School award, the product of a partnership between The School at Columbia University, design studio Aruliden, and Bernhardt Design, beating out the "older kids" from Parsons, Otis and RISD...and rightfully so...thanks to designs which left plenty of us old folks scratching our heads in amazement over the quality and detail of their work.

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Designed for flexibility for both form and function, forty-four 8th grade students partnered up with Bernhardt Design and Aruliden to create the perfect classroom desk and lockers for kids of the 21st century. What they came up after working together from the point of brainstorming, to 3D modeling, to model creation, finally to actual production of prototypes, was a trio of locker, desk and chair that garnered a large crowd at ICFF, both because the designs were beautifully executed, but also because the kids at the booth offered an impressive understanding and enthusiasm of the designs they helped create.

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Highlights of the designs include: the intuitive flexibility of the desk's utility, various storage surfaces and options specific to a classroom environment, the ergonomic comfort of the seat (we can vouch they not only look great, but sure trump our memories of school chairs), the door knob security lock and even the perforated trays for laptop storage. These kids showed themselves to be the most exciting, yet thoughtful, new designers at this year's show. Learn more about The School at Columbia University and Tools at Schools at their website.