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Grind Classroom Desk

A sustainable desk tailored for early childhood education classroom to generate immersive sustainability education.

Photo of Nick Zhou
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The Grind desk is an innovative attempt to bring sustainability into the classroom and build an immersive environment for sustainability education. We  our design for early childhood education. The desk, made of flexible and lightweight Grind material, brings sustainability awareness into early education classrooms. It helps create a safe classroom environment with rubber desk surfaces, and is lightweight and portable to encourage a dynamic classroom. This design is an innovation that opens possibilities to different classroom designs and creates a sustainable environment for our youngest students.

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Granulate
  • EVA Foam Sheets & Blocks
  • EVA Foam Components
  • Mixed Apparel Textile
  • Footwear Fiber "Fluff"

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

The desk body will be made of mixing the granulation and outsole Nike Grind rubber materials with adhesives to create a supportive structure for the desk body. The entire rubber structure can be made from one long rectangular piece, folded and bonded at the corners to create the shape of our desk. Besides this, the only additional pieces would be the metal reinforcement and the foam/textile cushions. The cushion upholstery can be created by joining together the recycled mixed apparel textiles, creating a sheet of fabric. Inside, the recycled footwear fiber “fluff” textile and various forms of foam pieces can be cut, processed and inserted to create padding. The textile wraps around the foam, creating a pillow-like cushion that can be bonded to the seat and back of the chair part of the desk.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

Our target market includes elementary school administrators that welcome innovative and affordable designs in their classroom and parents who look for playful furniture for their child at home.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

Starting from the demand for innovation in the educational field, the Grind desk offers solutions early education classrooms that want to implement sustainable design. Schools that wish to build a reputation for being environmentally aware can adapt the Grind Desk their classrooms. The motivation to use our product lies in the need of schools to implement greener technology and become examples of progress in education. Thus, this low-cost, safe, sustainable, and modern-looking desk can be sold in bulk to both public and private primary school administrators. The Grind desk might take time and courage for stakeholders to adapt. Creating small prototypes and marketing the desk as new generation design can encourage early adapters to introduce the concept into the industry, from which we can further promote how the desk fit in modern education style and needs.

How is your idea innovative?

Despite iterations on desk and classroom designs, few attempts have been made to create a classroom desk that focuses on sustainability. We are innovating upon current desk designs by making it safe, lightweight, engaging, and sustainable. The Grind Desk introduces a new style of classroom furniture that better accommodates modern education styles.

What inspired this idea?

Our research showed classroom interaction and safety to be popular topics in education, guiding the development of our desk. The main structure of our product is inspired by a Costa Rican classrooms that used recycled tetra-pak for classroom furniture and a rubberized desk designed by Thomas Brown.

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

We are students at the University of Washington studying Human Centered Design & Engineering. We believe in a bottom up approach, starting with users needs and creating a product that solves problem in users' context.

In what city are you located?


In what country are you located?


What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

University of Washington, Seattle

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Becoming a Top Idea invites more people to iterate over our design, provide further feedback and help us create a more robust prototype.


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