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Whiz-Kid Designers Build Swankiest School Furniture of All Time

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Photos: Fast Company

Kids these days! To kick off Fast Company's new design column, "Big Bang Design," writer Linda Tischler tells a terrific story of middle schoolers from NYC's School at Columbia who set out to design school furniture—desks and chairs, as well as lockers. The so-called Tools For Schools project was overseen by an industrial designer and the president of furniture giant Bernhardt, who says, "we're just supporters of design education, and we wanted to help." The kids learned about materials, proportions, and presentation skills, ultimately coming up with models that Bernhardt will produce in prototype version and showcase at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in NYC in May. They devised refreshingly simple ways of defining all things involved; lockers are "our bedrooms for the year" and design in general is "creativity with a purpose." Not to mention: as their peers in other parts of the city/state/country/world were busy stuffing nerds into lockers, these kids were designing a tiny mail slot so that the lockers of the future function like Inboxes for friends and teachers to leave notes. File under: genius!

· New York Times Magazine, Fast Company Debut New Design Columns [UnBeige]
· A Teen Eye for Design [Fast Company]