Designing a product for a specific client is an incredibly rich and multi-layered learning experience. In addition to leveraging skills like solution seeking, critical thinking, connecting, communicating and innovating, to ensure the clients needs are met, attributes like empathy, adaptability and creativity are key contributors to success. In Digital Woodworking, an Upper School Maker, Design and Engineering class, juniors and seniors were paired with PK4 “clients” to design custom Preschool-sized chairs. The scope of work included designing and prototyping custom chairs based on the specific likes and interests of their young clients.
Getting to Know the Client
Kate Hurd, Class of 2024 explained how the process worked, “We first got videos from PK4 students describing their favorite things including their favorite toys, what pets they had, and their favorite breakfast foods. Then, we sent back similar videos as a way to create connection and get to know them. We then had an in-person design brief where we could ask them specifically what they would want in their chair.”
Once the chairs are designed, they are prototyped with cardboard, and milled using the CNC machine and laser cutters. Upper School Maker students will bring the final products to PK4 and assist while they paint and color their chairs. While the design work and manufacturing were a labor of love for Upper School Digital Woodworking students, it was a collaborative effort that allowed both groups of students to tap into their creativity and innovation while fostering relationships with one another.