Triangle of Life

During the earthquake(s) this year in china, more than a few students and other civilians were seriously injured or killed by the tables they were hiding under. Haishan Deng has a definite swipe of a solution for instances such as these. Using the physics of the “Triangle of Life” Deng presents: the “Life Desk.”

The Life Desk is open for learning during regular times, and closed for danger during times of trouble. The main structure is high strength steel and nylon board, while the side structure is molten steel molded round to disperse stress.

Deng has already interviewed with the Bureau of Education in China and they will be producing a limited amount of these desks to try them out in schools. The cost of one desk is 80 Euro – anyone know how much a regular, non-earthquake table costs?

And, of course, how much is one life worth?

Designer: Haishan Deng


  • Someone says:

    Yeee, this table is a rip off, 80 euro= over 110$

    wooo, too much for a table

  • Ekove says:

    Too much for a massed produced table, that maybe 1 of 10,000 will save a life.

    It doesn’t have storage either which is a negative.

    That aside, I like the design, I just don’t think it will sell as a mass produced product.

  • Jinhong says:

    good design!!!

  • avin says:

    good idea, but the price has to go down, way down, an average school table should cost only about $25 Euro.

    But i must say, the concept is very good as triangle or dome shapes are very very strong shapes and deserves a second look as it has huge potential and will prove very very useful in not just schools but just about everywhere.

    park benches that fold, seats in the subway that folds, tuck three under a queen size bed as support / storage during normal days, and they turn into civil hide out during an earth quark or air raid.

  • DonQ says:

    That’s a great application of design. Assuming this table actually will save lives and lasts much longer than a normal desk the amortized cost seems worthwhile in a school setting. Plus I can appreciate indestructable desks that won’t have hearts and peoples’ names carved in them.

  • MadCow says:

    I don’t know, it seems like this designer is not addressing the problem directly. The reason that these kids died was from the poor quality of the architecture, furniture, and lack of emergency policies being reinforced. Theres a huge problem with systematic structures in china, both physically and policy wise. this is only a temporary fix, and an expensive one at that, money from manufacturing these tables should be put towards better policies, safer architecture, and an actual emergency plan!

    • Eric says:

      I think this is more meant to be an addition to safety, not a replacement for all of China’s architecture and safety issues. How might one go about “designing” something to solve all their issues directly? It’s a desk design meant to help save lives, not an idea to tear down all poorly built buildings and rebuild them (as you claim would be fixing the problem at the source.) The buildings are built already, do you suggest nobody go in them ever? Should the designer call whomever is responsible for bad buildings in China and bitch, would that get anyone anywhere? At least while the bad buildings are falling down and being replaced with safer buildings, this desk can save their occupants. Whats wrong with that? (besides the price tag) Wow scrapping one idea cause it doesn’t fix EVERY problem present…

      • MadCow says:

        i would have to disagree with the fact that this is solving anything but putting a band-aid on the problem.

        you are saying that schools in china now should invest in these tables for 80 euros a pop instead of putting this money into re-structuring there educational infrastructure?

        I, however, would like to tackle the problem at its root. I agree that this design solves a certain problem very well, but in the long run, you would have more tables and less well built schools, and i am concerned about the long run.

        just like the nicotine patch… if you have the money, than you can keep on patching away and act like you are not addicted to cigarettes.

        if the school has the money, than they can buy these tables and tell the parents that their schools are 100% safe from earthquakes, and theres no need to worry.

        • Eric says:

          Well this designer is not you. So if you want to fix the problem at the root be my guest, I doubt you will get anywhere (soon.) Heaven forbid we provide people with options for safety, versus sticking with nothing. Ps Band aids sell a lot for a reason, they work. Every ‘band aid’ you refer to here is someones life. If that is too little of a fix for you, then move there and rebuild everything for them. Also in the long run, the students who survive the collapse of their building because of this device will be the ones (now motivated) to fixing the root problem for their kids. It’s an inspirational piece as well as a life saver. Cost -vs- Safety will always be an issue, but life -vs- no lives should never be. With you rebuilding their ‘standards,’ and this desk actually saving people NOW, then yes everyone can stand a chance.

          • MadCow says:

            very american of you, band-aid now, and let the future fix itself… the mindset of american’s always intrigued me

            what i was trying to get at is maybe every 10%, 20% of purchases of this table could go into funding for restructuring, etc.. policies, and a plan for the future, not just buy now, and forget about the future,

            I didn’t want to get political but the whole economic crisis started because people only thought about buying now and forget about saving for the future… that and frugal spending on worthless band-aids like war.

            China is in a midst of an industrial and economic revolution, it will take generations for the people to actually catch up culturally and behaviorally, that is why this is the best time to actually plan and structure.

            if you haven’t noticed, many “designs” that come out of china merely scratch the surface of what actual Industrial Design is all about.

            Again, my critique for this product is simple: This desk makes good business sense now, but thats not what china needs regarding this “earthquake” situation, this is not a matter of business now, but a matter finding a solution for the future.

          • Eric says:

            MadCows Plan: Scrap the crap desk idea, lets wait until there is a new safety plan that “someone” will impliment “sometime.”

            Designers Plan: Lets try and save some people now while we wait for a new safety plan to form.

            You really want to tell these families they lost their only child because we were waiting for a better safety standards act? Instead of “band-aiding” their lives, you want to hope their standards will change before the next big one? Why can we not have both? Really why not????

          • MadCow says:

            take a look at the “one laptop per child” project, thats actually got a “plan” to help the educational situation for the country’s future, its not just about a product that helps now.

            if only they could’ve delivered on time! theres always a snag in the process…

            let me give you an example: if you were in a cage with a lion, and i gave you a chair and a whip to defend yourself, this will save your life until your chair breaks down and/or your whip is broken, but then i told you that if you can come up with the funds, i can keep providing you with chairs and whips… well this will definitely help your situation, and i would make a good business out of it, you could say its mutually beneficial, you and the lion might get use to it and it might become a standard routine… your children will continue this routine, but… it never changes your situation with the lion… you actually need a plan to get out of the lion’s cage.

            many countries are stuck in this cycle, i am glad that i am not living in one of those countries, but if i ever do get the chance i would love to contribute to a plan.

          • Eric says:

            Who says this can’t be sold with a ‘plan’ anyway? Just because it wasn’t posted with one you call it a ‘band-aid.’ Well here is why that shouldn’t matter: Because this can help people now! It’s not a chair (or a credit card) This is something that can be done to save lives today. What plan and restructuring ideas do you have that can be implemented that fast? None. So while peeps are working on the future (I NEVER said disregard it) then this desk will be saving lives, TODAY. There is no such thing as ‘a one idea fix all’ for this situation, it’s called a combination. So instead of supporting the idea as a supplimental life saver, you claim it doesnt solve a real issue, when it does, and can do it soon. Unlike your future plans for China. In this case it actually would save more people by letting them have these now, and still working on a plan. Why would you not think about the future? Still stands: Why scrap one idea that can help (even more than China) just because it doesn’t solve all the issues? This is not only destined for China you know…
            Ps The US became a world super power in record time because the system works. There were economical blunders guess what? Before we were even here. So blame nobody, blame everyone, I don’t care what someone suffering from MadCow thinks or believes.

          • MadCow says:

            i don’t disregard the idea of a combination, but i thought a Chinese designer living in China would have the sensibility to design something with a plan rather than solely for business, as you have said, we are talking about peoples lives and not just a school project. Do you think that OLPC project would have any effect and be able to go through without a plan? it would just end up being another laptop sitting in BestBuy.

            The fact that “Deng has already interviewed with the Bureau of Education in China and they will be producing a limited amount of these desks to try them out in schools” Is where i had to voice my thoughts.

            to conclude my point: I believe that this project is not mature enough to be put through, just because we think that a product will work and will have immediate results does not mean that ANYBODY should rush into it without thinking about the long term effects. This is an essential part of the design process.

            consider buying a car or a house, both are, at a certain degree, essential for life but who would ever rush into buying the first one they see?…. people who have money?

            China is a country with a long history of “not considering the long term effects” and that’s what gets me with this project! its history repeating itself.

            Eric: please don’t get angry over disagreements, i think its healthy to bring up these debates. we will have to just agree to disagree.

          • Eric says:

            That’s not necessary because we both want to see this improve life for people. What angers me is the fact we are on a website made for feedback. If anything you should be contributing to a plan right now. Instead of finding flaws in the designer by saying he didn’t think of a plan for a great product, give him your advice on how they can make it happen. I’m a huge fan of the OLPC initiative (even raising John Lennon from the dead to advertise it) so please advise on a plan of your own rather than saying it’s not good enough to begin with. If you want to see completed products with plans in action go to a different website. When you’re here give your 2 cents to the improvement and become part of a finalzed idea. I think this site is designed to inspire and improve, so don’t hate the game become a player to improve it. My idea is to make this a similar campaign as the RED initiative, what’s yours?

  • Tojar says:

    Well, in Finland a school desk can cost several hundred euros so I don’t think that’s very expensive. Of course 80€ is much more in developing countries, but China should afford them…

    • Eric says:

      I agree, but I’m sure you understand the idea that if it can be made cheaply enough, it can accommodate more countries than just China. Those whom can’t afford it as is but still need it… Great idea regardless!

  • Katie says:

    It is outstanding idea of making this type of triangle table. While keeping in mind to save the people from earthquake,it plus designed fantastic.

  • zippyflounder says:

    the notion is fine, but lets get to the gritty here, and realize its got to be priced where its cost effective to be implemented. If the idea is to save some lives then lets just build it simply use steel, localy farmed out construction and put a few hundred thousand out there lickedy split.

    • zippyflounder says:

      no custom forms, just steel tube, sheet, welding, shear pins, rod…simple, simple, simple.

  • Eric says:

    Thank you, that’s taking initiative with a great idea. (and a case of function above form LOL) Just takes one donation and volunteers to build 30 and replace one classroom full to inspire more. We have to start somewhere and sometime, why not now?

  • rebekah says:

    As an engineer, I think this is an overly complex and potentially dangerous design. A hinging design could pinch or crush a child as it swing down into this triangle, “life-saving” shape. A more logical, cheaper, and less dangerous to the user approach would be simply to strengthen and brace the four legs of a standard desk. A series of such desks could support the weight of a collapsed floor and protect the students without the potential for hinges and swinging parts to sever fingers, legs, and feet. Of course, the better approach would be to build better schools buildings so that they don’t collapse and are still usable after an earthquake.

  • Jacob Robertson says:

    The triangle of life is a dangerous myth without any science behind it. It was fabricated by a self absorbed fraud that has stolen money from the Sept 11 fund. His name is Doug Copp and he and his team are amateur thrill series’s with no training or expertise.

  • Jacob Robertson says:

    The triangle of life is a dangerous myth without any science behind it. It was fabricated by a self absorbed fraud that has stolen money from the Sept 11 fund. His name is Doug Copp and he and his team are amateur thrill series’s with no training or expertise.

  • vincenzo says:

    I have a question.
    There are no note about this project in the personal page of Haishan Deng's website. Why?
    And this project is disappeared. Only a mere concept??
    I'm fed up to see these “project”, these render.

  • huangyanqing says:

    good idea

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