• Bill Packman

Student Led Design

Updated: Jul 29, 2019

Mr Bill is leading the way in a brand new take on the design of schools and classrooms. It's all about the students - and we think it's the future!

From day one we have involved students of all ages in our design process. Childrens'/school furniture is designed exclusively by 'old people', and when you really think about it, this is absurd. Who better to involve in the design of kids' furniture than the kids themselves?

Designing and making workshop

Designing is a skill for which children are perfectly suited. While a professional designer's experience and training are, of course, valuable this very experience and training erodes some of a designer's naivety. Designers are tasked with looking at their projects in fresh and exciting ways yet their experience and training introduce mental limitations. When a designer approaches a project his mind is filled with the knowledge of what cannot be done. When a kid approaches a design problem they have no such impediment. And what comes out of these untainted minds is frequently completely brilliant!

Case in point: We did a workshop at a local government kindergarten in Shenzhen. We sat with a group 4-5yr olds and asked them to re-imagine their own bedrooms; what was good/what was bad/what would you change and how. They then upped crayons and began to draw. There were lots of Wallace and Grommit-esque contraptions (some of which I'd love to make one day) and there were the children that went all-in on colour schemes/murals and the like. Before long we had reams of paper littering the floor, designs everywhere and all were colourful, bright and full of movement and fun.

And then one kid, this little genius of a kid, stepped up. He quietly talked me through his idea and blew my mind.

His reasoning was that he liked spending time in his room, doing homework, reading, playing with Lego and eating snacks but it wasn't a big room and he didn't have space for a chair or a table. His solution was this:

Transforming Headboard/Table Concept

It identifies the problem, it draws on his own world experience (his high chair for example), it perfectly solves the design challenge he set himself and it's a completely original and unique concept.

In short: It's totally and utterly brilliant!

I have shown this design to colleagues and furniture design friends and they invariably pause, scrumple up their face a bit, scratch their head and then smile (they always smile). 'That's genius'. 'Wow'. 'Lets make a grown up version'.

This 4yr old brain did something most designers spend their professional lives striving for. In about 7 minutes. With crayons.

As our company grows and we take on more projects we will continue to push our clients to consider the benefits of student involvement. Everybody wins. The schools can add real world experiences into their curriculum, the students can experience the joy of seeing something they once drew come to life and the schools get unique, interesting furniture

And we get an unlimited team of bright, fresh, untainted designers to keep us 'old people' sharp.

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