Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter
and Ido Bruno


This school table by industrial design students graduate Arthur Brutter and professor Ido Bruno is specifically designed to form a safe shelter for pupils during earthquakes.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

It's common practice for school children to hide under their desks when an earthquake strikes but standard tables are not built for the purpose and can trap those sheltering underneath if they collapse in the wrong way.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

The students considered different collapse scenarios and the need to maintain an escape route, as well as the day-to day requirements of teaching and cleaning.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

The table will be presented at Ventura Lambrate design district in Milan this month as part of a showcase of work by students from Jerusalem's Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, entitled Design Bonanza Bezalel.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: detail of a crush zone element, photograph by Ido Bruno

It's also been nominated for the Design Museum's design of the year award, due to be announced on 23 April.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: 1000 kg steel and concrete block at moment of impact, photograph by Ido Bruno

Dezeen are media partners for Ventura Lambrate, which takes place from 17 to 22 April. Download a map and guide to Ventura Lambrate here and see all our stories about Milan 2012 here.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: 1000 kg impact test, photograph by Ido Bruno

Studio photographs are by Tzur Kotzer.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: Arthur Brutter demonstrating rescue tunnel, photograph by Ido Bruno

Here are some more details from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design:

At any given time, more than 300,000,000 pupils worldwide are facing impending danger because their schools are not built to withstand an earthquake. While it is common to instruct pupils to crawl under tables in case of an earthquake, existing classroom tables often turn into lethal traps for those taking refuge.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: table after 1000 kg sack impact test, photograph by Ido Bruno

This table is designed for a range of collapse scenarios. It provides a comprehensive solution by creating both covering, protection and a passageway for rescue team accessibility.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: standard school table impact test, photograph by Ivan Bianchini.

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-leading Structural Engineering department of Padua University, Italy.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: 500 kg impact test,photograph by Ivan Bianchini.

Earthquake table is light enough for two children to lift and move, as well as adapted to classroom cleaning and other routine, non-emergency needs.

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: 800 kg sack impact test, photograph by Ivan Bianchini.

Design Bonanza Bezalel at Ventura Lambrate
Via Massimiano 6,
20134 Milan
Tuesday 17 – Sunday 22 April, 10:00 - 20:00

Earthquake Proof Table by Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno

Above: 1000 kg impact test, photograph by Ivan Bianchini.

  • I'm Mexican, and old enough to remember the big one of Sept. 19th 1985.

    As such, I wholeheartedly applaud the effort put in this designing solution, which has the potential to save many lives.

    I still feel it would be better in some instances to install better alerting systems that might grant people enough seconds to evacuate sensible areas. Those seconds might be the difference between escaping unharmed or being trapped for days –even weeks– between tons of rubble with no food and water.

    But, in an imperfect world, we can't expect to have perfect solutions. Once again kudos to the designers, and may the win the Best Design award :)

  • JeffK

    I think this is a really brilliant project, especially for students. Animation is excellent too.

  • mik

    ok. another genious idea.
    why don't we just put the kids in metal cages?
    I am sure they will be protected all their life.

    • gbr

      better idea: put yourself and protect all of us.

  • All earthquake prone areas should indeed make use of these tables. I think it's a great way to provide safety especially in schools to use such products for the students' safety in case of this unpredictable calamity.

  • pmc

    This table is dangerous in its current unresolved state. When the table top collapses the persons head is protected ONLY if it is directly tucked under the central bars. If the person places their head either side of the central bar, up against the underside of the table top and the tabletop collapses diagonally downward, as it is designed to do so, they will be struck by the underside of the collapsing table, injuring them.
    I was in a severe earthquake as a child, and hid under a table. In the panic I was looking around,and can say that if i had to remember to keep my head in a specific place, that would have been forgotten very quickly in the panic.
    If extra thin bars, or metal mesh were added either side of the central diagonal bar, following the same line, that would ensure people could not place their head above the central bar, which absorbs the impact.

    • Matt

      Guess this would be fairly easily resolved by putting a second sheet across/on the underside of the diagonal bars (perhaps with some spacing to account for movement)? Probably excluded for simplicity of aesthetic etc.

  • The idea of using crunch zones to absorb impact energy coming from car engineering and architecture has not been applied much to furniture. My own work has explored the similar idea of 'break lines', but for purely experimental purposes and not for the pragmatic and humanitarian reasons in this project. Which I like. It runs against commonly desired qualities for furniture, that of lightness and movability, though, which are important if we want flexible and creative spaces in which to teach and learn. The protection of students (or anyone for that matter) from earthquakes is best and firstly served by architecture. So I don't think this is a solution for all schools in all earthquake prone areas. But for those schools in old buildings at risk, where you can't rebuild yet the building is still used for lack of space elsewhere, then this design could be very useful as a safeguard.

  • Ogier de Beauseant

    Impressive work and documentation I give them an A+

  • tommy

    Ahhh design for the real world how refreshing.

  • The design is headed in the right direction. There is 1 HUGE problem that is being overlooked that shows how design can so oft neglect the details. So think hard on this one. The tests were performed with the desk on (presumably) a reinforced concrete floor….. what about second story and above floors in nonindustrial buildings? I see six legs going through the floor and if you are lucky stopping at the stretchers and hopefully not severing toes or knees etc.
    Retest with a floor of 1.25" ply, carpet pad, and carpet over different joists i.e. lumber, gypcrete, concrete over corrugated sheet, then get back here with results……

  • ghastida

    While there may be some unresolved issues as a furniture design student I am inspired by this work and am glad to see student work featured that is attempting to solve legitimate problems.

  • HaenSu

    what if floor break down first?

  • Shavool

    Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno are not industrial design students.

    I believe Ido Bruno is even a design teacher/lecturer/professor.

    Dezeen please get your facts straight.

    • Thanks for the correction – we've updated the story above.

  • Esdeve

    Formidably good design. There is now more potential to erase some crap instructions like "dig a hole under your desk, and hide in it in case of emergency" that always remains in the world by lack of fund capabilities, not only in erthquake situations…
    Note, I hope it can withstand two of the smallers impacts one after another…

  • Josh

    This is great design. Achieving to address multiple issues concerning occupant safety, immediate/quick access to safety/protective zones, providing affordable high performance solutions. It extends itself as an economical resolve for less developed countries which often have poor building code restrictions-if any to withstand earthquakes.

  • Just an incredible stuff. I would love to congratulate Mr Arthur Brutterand and Ido Bruno for designing this amazing table. It would be better if schools, restaurants, offices and houses of area where there are more possibilities of earthquake having this kind of tables.