It’s rare when practicality and aesthetics are bedfellows, as is the case with ‘The Crate‘, a new storage innovation born of the dorm room but designed for the home. Developed by Georgia Tech grad Jenny Drinkard, the project riffs off that perennial collegiate tradition of furnishing one’s room – that is, one which hasn’t already been decked out by your parents – with whatever scrap can be sourced in the proximity of said room. Easily found on and around campus cafeterias and adjacent convenience stores, the milk crate fits the bill, combining durability with function, if not always style.
This is where Drinkard improves on the concept, preserving the inherent modularity of the milk crate while refashioning its basic shell. The resultant object proves extremely versatile, with reworked proportions, a “plug-in”-like template, and numerous add-ons - drawers, corkboards, a seat cushion, and wheels, to name a few - that lends itself well to extended aggregation.
Drinkard pitched her idea to Quirky, the self-styled “old school start-up” that helps realize inventors’ ideas as tangible marketable products, which saw in the elevated milk crate the ”reinvention” of the desk, bookshelf, storage room, and even living room. As Co. Design tells it, The Crate quickly became one of the company’s best success stories, with retailers Target and Fab.com vying to stock the product. Very quickly, the demand exceeded the small-scale production, forcing Quirky to move production of a product stateside–the first in the company’s young, but illustrious history.
Hiring regional manufacturers in New Jersey and Vermont to produce the units will help Quirky build and distribute The Crate at a faster and more efficient rate. The product hits Target store July 1, so you’ll have plenty of time to stock up before the back-to-school rush.
This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.