Classroom of the Future

The School at Columbia Unveils Inspired Designs at ICFF

For their first assignment of the year, eighth graders at The School at Columbia in Harlem were charged with designing the classroom of the future; their vision made its debut last weekend at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in Manhattan. Devised by the school’s Director of Communications Technology, Don Buckley, in partnership with creative consultancy Aruliden and American furniture maker Bernhardt Design, Tools At School saw students create superior versions of schoolhouse staples. Student Tyler Chonoles sums up the jumping off point: “Basically, we were like, why does everything have to be ugly and uncomfortable?” The results swing from tricked-out lockers—complete with ventilation, custom shelving, a fold-out bin for athletic gear, and a dry erase board—to statement seating. “I thought it would be amazing if the chairs were chrome; chrome so shiny that when you walked into the room and saw all those chairs, you’d be blinded,” says student Sarah Adelman. The project's coordinators are currently shopping around for a manufacturer to license the designs, with the eventual proceeds earmarked for educational design initiatives. New York's Museum of Art and Design will mount an exhibition showcasing the project in October. 


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