Art and Design KS2: Product design

Presenter Karim Zeroual is in a furniture store. Art and creativity are all around us, but have you ever thought of furniture design as art?

Isn’t it amazing to think that every bit of furniture that we use began life as an idea and probably a sketch of some sort!

We meet David Irwin, master furniture designer, he has invited us to his industrial design studio to learn how to design and make a chair.

David demonstrates how he begins sketching design ideas and then makes a prototype to test the success of his design in three-dimensions.

Karim and a group of kids take on the challenge to design a prototype for a chair of their own.

We see them enjoying the challenge and get a look at their final prototypes.

This short film is from the series Get Creative.

Teacher Notes

Before Watching

Look at furniture around the classroom and ask the children to think of furniture they use at home, discuss how all items of furniture began as a designer’s idea.

Ask the children what sort of things designers might consider when designing and making a chair.

Ask the children to reflect on how they think ideas are best recorded i.e. with 2D sketches and encourage the children to reflect upon the limitations of a 2D sketch.

You could spend some time practicing sketching items of furniture from around the classroom or from images.

Timed sketches work well as an exercise; you could begin with 5 min sketches and work down to 30 second sketches.

After Watching

Ask the children to have a think about the purpose and setting for their chair and how these points will impact their design.

Let the children sketch a few possible designs, they can then use peer discussions to establish which design will work best as an actual chair.

Ensure that the children know which materials are available to them and encourage the children to think practically about how they will use the materials provided to construct their prototype of the chair.

You may need to demonstrate some simple joining techniques e.g. how to use masking tape to connect two pieces of card to each other.

Master Skill(s)

Sketching a design to inform model making.

Using a design to inform sculpting using a variety of materials.

Thinking Questions

  • What is the purpose of your chair?
  • Who will be sitting on your chair?
  • Where will your chair be used?
  • Does your design show the chair from a variety of angles?

Supported Learning and SEN

Depending on the ability of the children in your cohort, you may chose to begin by looking at different chairs and talking through the features of a chair.

Provide examples of simple chair designs in 2D, these can be found with a simple internet search.

This will give the children a starting point and help them understand the elements they need to include e.g. legs and body of the chair, with drawings from different angles.

It might be helpful to prepare or demonstrate how to join materials to each other e.g. how to use masking tape and simple tabs, slits, slots and folds.

Offer children the option of working in a group or provide support from an adult or more able peer.

Extend this Project

You could extend this challenge by having the children work in small groups to create a life-sized version of one of their chair designs, using junk modelling techniques.

Perhaps even have the children ‘pitch’ their design to an imagined furniture store or homeowner.

At the end of the project, ask the children to write or speak about how they will know if their design was a success (maybe test the seat with a cuddly toy!).

Have the children evaluate their work according to the set of specifications they develop and discuss how they could improve on the design.

Curriculum Notes

These films meet and extend the current national curriculum requirements for art and design at KS1 and KS2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and 2nd Level in Scotland.

The films and lesson ideas will engage, inspire and challenge your children to explore their own ideas and produce creative work.

The films introduce children to high quality skills and knowledge in art and design.

The challenges set support children in becoming proficient in techniques including, but not limited to, drawing, painting and sculpture.

Through the films, the children will be introduced to and inspired by a range of artists, craftspeople and designers, they will experiment, invent and create work that links to the work of professional creatives.

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