Metals at Marwen

Connecting Local Manufacturing to Design with Chicago Public School Middle Schoolers

It was a full house this past Thursday as DesignHouse partnered with Chicago Metro Metals Consortium to bring our DesignHouse Jam to middle school students at Marwen. During Chicago Public School’s spring break, 27 middle school students joined with mentors and DesignHouse staff to connect manufacturing with design. The excitement Marwen students provided was intoxicating, fueling great ideating around metals that can be produced locally.

During the Metals at Marwen Jam, DesignHouse focused on designing art supply products that could be manufactured in sheet metal. Marwin alumni, Akilah Halley, Marwen teachers and DesignnHouse staff kicked off the design session by introducing  Design Thinking and opening students’ minds to unconstrained ideating before choosing a path to move forward. It quickly became clear the students were much better at this part than most adults! Mentors then taught students about Sheet Metal manufacturing and led them through the DesignHouse process. Towards the end, students used paper and tin sheets, as it has similar constraints, to take their designs to concept stage! 

It was amazing to see what the students came up with in such a short amount of time- minimalist art tool holders, rotating palettes, art templates, just to name a few. In the debrief after the session, students and mentors alike were fascinated by the ideas they designed and how easy it was to  think about manufacturing first.

We wanted to say a big thank you to Chicago Metro Metals Consortium for sponsoring this event and Marwen for hosting. Both helped us achieve our mission of revitalizing local manufacturing through design and making the next generation more aware of the future of local manufacturing. 

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