IPA Students Use Design Thinking to Create Sustainable Furniture

Secondary students in Ms. Steele’s Intro to Design Thinking class are ready to give the Eames lounge chair a run for its money. Using the design thinking process, and Dieter Ram’s 10 principles of good design, the students ideated, designed, prototyped, and construct cardboard chairs for one of their design projects.

The budding designers were challenged to create a weight-bearing piece of furniture constructed only of cardboard using a tab and slot design. No adhesives were permitted in the construction process, and each student had to be able to construct their pieces independently, without any help.

Their final pieces were tested and critiqued by guest judge Nathan Hillegas from Rengo Packaging Inc. Hillegas is a package designer, trained in Industrial Design, who works with local farms on ways to safely ship their goods.

“The cardboard tab and slot chair project is a college-level design challenge that requires students to engage with the Stanford design cycle but also with design principals from engineering and industrial design,” explained Steele, Secondary Design Thinking Department Head. “Having students solve complex problems using the design cycle gives them a non-linear structure to fall back on. Being able to think creatively and be resilient to failure along the way to the solution helps ensure students are better prepared for the problems of tomorrow.”