UKF CONNECTIVITY PROGRAM - Enchancing children's well-being by sustainable school furniture design


Project Title: Enhancing children's well-being by sustainable school furniture design

Project Leader: Danijela, Domljan; Ph.D., Assistant Professor, MA ID, University of Zagreb Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology

Project Co-Leader: John J. Elliott; M. EVDS (Arch), M. EVDS (ID), Associate Professor, Cornell University, College of Human Ecology, Department of Design and Environmental Analyses (D+EA)

Collaborators at Partner Institution: prof. Gary W. Evans, Ph.D., Elizabeth Lee Vincent Professor of Human Ecology; prof. Nancy M. Wells, Ph.D., Director of Graduate Studies



Partner Institution (Host): Cornell University, College of Human Ecology,Department of Design and Environmental Analyses (D+EA), Ithaca NY, USA

Beneficiary: University of Zagreb Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology

Co-partners in Croatia: Competence Centre Ltd. for Research and Development, Vinkovci;  Wood Cluster Slavonian Oak, Vinkovci, Open Academy Step by Step, Zagreb



Project duration: September 26 – November 26, 2019 (2 months)

Project funds: Unity Through Knowledge Fund (UKF) – Connectivity Program gaining Experience Grant, Agreement No 2/19

Total project budget: 38.000 HRK

UKF funding: 29.000 HRK

Co-funding: 9.000 HRK (Competence Centre Ltd. for Research and Development + Wood Cluster Slavonian Oak + Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology)



Project Summary:

The design of school furniture has for a long time been neglected in the educational system of many countries of the world. This project strives to improve the well-being and health of children in schools through the sustainable design of school furniture.

The project is being implemented with an interdisciplinary Department of Design and Environmental Analyses (D+EA) at Cornell University, USA, with the aim of applying a new methodology on how to improve the child’s attitudes to the environment, their behavior and environmental awareness from the perspective of sustainable design of school furniture. It seeks to foster a sense of satisfaction and well-being in the school environment. To define the requirements, it is necessary to be multidisciplinary and user-orientated, to use design methods and the ability to combine a human approach to the research of children’s needs and attitudes in schools, know wood ecological materials as well to apply knowledge and experience in teamwork with designers, architects, psychologists and ergonomists as is practicable with the experts at D+EA.

The goal is to carry out a research project by involving the students and professors from D+EA upon Design Studio Course as well as children, parents and teachers from primary schools in Ithaca NY district in order to improve healthy school environment by designing new and innovative sustainable wooden concepts of products (furniture, equipment, didactic elements etc.) that will meet the needs of children and achieve a sense of well-being at school. Students will analyze the problems in school environment using different design methods, design the concepts based on obtained research results and produce models from wood materials in Design Studio.

Expected outcomes of the project are new concepts in terms of human/children-oriented product design: visual perception, aesthetics, functionality, ergonomics, education, psychology and sociology, use of sustainable (wood) materials, production technology, environmental aspect, cost and quality. Since the same problem is observed in Republic of Croatia, it is expected that the new methodology and results achieved during visit will be implemented and applied in the Croatian schools and involve Croatian producers based on wood industry as the national benefits.

Key words: design, school furniture, children, sensory-didactic equipment, sustainability, wood, well-being

Project Results


Poslijediplomski doktorski studij šumarstva i drvne tehnologije