Fault Line Furniture: The Table That Could Save Lives in an Earthquake

This lightweight table can withstand more than 2,000 pounds of impact, making it the perfect piece of furniture for classrooms in earthquake zones.

Of the more common tips for surviving an earthquake, told to everyone from school kids in Los Angeles to salarymen in Tokyo, is simple: when you feel the ground shake, get under the nearest table or desk to protect your head from broken glass, flying debris, or falling ceiling fans. But the reality is, most tables aren’t that strong, and in developing countries where cheaply built schools are likely to crumble, getting under a table won’t do much anyway.

The "Earthquake-Proof Table," designed by Israeli industrial designers Arthur Brutter and Ido Bruno, was built with the table’s live-saving potential in mind. "Existing non-earthquake-designated classroom tables often turn into lethal traps for those taking refuge," the designers told Core 77. The designers believe the table could provide safety to the 300 million students worldwide living in countries prone to quakes. It’s light enough for students to move, but can withstand more than 2,000 pounds of impact.

While researching the design, the team interviewed school directors and emergency responders around the world, including personnel who participated in rescue efforts after recent mega-quakes in Turkey and Haiti. The goal was to figure out an affordable way to mass produce the table without sacrificing safety. Their research shows that furnishing a classroom with these tables would be 10 times cheaper than strengthening the walls and 500 times cheaper than rebuilding a class or school to earthquake safety standards. Ido and Brutter, who collaborated on the project at Jersualem's Academy of Arts and Design, are now in talks with various governments and UN agencies to figure out how to bring the new technology to the places that need it.


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