Tools at Schools

Understanding design can bring everyday objects to life and give children a new view of the world. Design can turn on the light in a child’s mind and suddenly routine school lessons seem relevant in the real world.

project introduction

The design process can teach children how to create, how to communicate their ideas, and how things are actually made. Design can be a window for our children to cultivate the practical skills they need to succeed in an ever more competitive world.

research + big idea

Tools at Schools is a partnership between Bernhardt Design, creative consultancy Aruliden, and The School at Columbia University. The project was created to introduce design into the school’s eighth grade curriculum. Forty-four students were asked to create the classroom of the future, using their daily school environment as a launching pad for their ideas.

scale modeling


The students immersed themselves in the entire design process, from research and ideation, to hand-sketching, 3D drawing and the creation of scale models. They learned to effectively communicate and sell their ideas both verbally and in writing.

Based on personal essays, five students were selected to visit the Bernhardt Design factories and report to their classes. Here, the students experienced the magic of design, when their ideas were turned into production drawings and came to life on the factory floor.


final project launch

Tools at Schools debuted at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. The Museum of Arts and Design in New York will present an exhibition of the project beginning in the Fall.
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