As a precautionary solution, Bezalel student Arthur Brutter and instructor Ido Bruno have designed The Earthquake-Proof Table, engineered to safely protect at least two students from falling debris.
The pair were inspired to design the table because they wanted to help students in developing countries who were under threat. The normal procedure during an earthquake warning is for all students to crawl under their desks, however, ordinary furniture cannot withstand the weight of a falling building, or any other heavy debris. The solution for the budding designers was to create a desk which could provide a shelter durable enough to bend under heavy loads and as well as light enough to be easily moved.
It provides a comprehensive solution by creating both covering protection and passageways for rescue team accessibility
“While it is common to instruct pupils to crawl under tables in case of an earthquake, existing non earthquake designated classroom tables often turn into lethal traps for those taking refuge,” the pair explained. “The ‘Earthquake Proof Table’ is designed for a range of building types and collapse scenarios. It provides a comprehensive solution by creating both covering protection and passageways for rescue team accessibility.”
“To date, the patent pending design has successfully withstood a series of rigorous vertical impact tests and is currently awaiting official approval of the world leadingm Structural Engineering department of Padua University, Italy,” the pair explained.
Brutter and Bruno wanted to design a cost-effective student desk that could be easily implemented in schools across the world – while at the same time being as versatile as a traditional school desk.
“In addition to various weight and ceiling collapse patterns, the Earthquake Proof Table addresses the financial limitations of the schools that need it through economical, yet responsible production methods and inexpensive materials.
“Designed according to sound ergonomic principles, the Earthquake Proof Table is light enough for two children to lift and move, as well as adapted to classroom cleaning and other routine, non-emergency needs.”
The patent-pending design uses the tried-and-true strength of triangles to distribute impact to four crush zones at the corners of the table. During testing the table was put under heavy pressure using weights dropped from a selection of heights. Each time the metal frame successfully remained in tact with the pressure absorbed and dissipated at the sides. The space under the table remained untouched, becoming the perfect safe-zone for at least two children. Interestingly, each frame is structured in such a way as to allow children to crawl between tables, creating a way out of a potentially dangerous situation.
The Earthquake Proof Table addresses the financial limitations of the schools that need it through economical, yet responsible production methods
The fledgling design duo would ideally like to teach communities in developing countries how to manufacture the tables locally. Already, they have held talks with the United Nations and a number of other countries while they estimate that installing their tables in a school would cost a tenth of reinforcing the walls. Furthermore they believe the design is more than 400 times cheaper than building a new building with the technology that can counter seismic shifts.
Already shortlisted for a Design Museum ‘Design of the Year’ award, the 2012 Fast Company Innovation by Design awards, and showcased at the Ventura Lambrate design district in Miami, the hope is the table will do more than simply attract attention from within the design community – it will actually save lives.