A teenager from Detroit who won first place in a school art contest is about to see her design come to life. Her bench, dubbed the 'Reflection Section,' is designed to promote safe social interaction.

Aliya Crawley is a sophomore at Cass Tech High School in Detroit. The 15-year-old's design was one of 12 finalists in a school art contest held during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the Reflection Section?

Aliya designed a bench with two seating positions that put people back-to-back. There are mirrors above each seating position in order to reflect each's other's image.

“The mission was to create something that connects people together during a time where physical togetherness is not possible,” Crawley tells WXYZ in the video below.

She says she wanted to create something that would help people who are struggling with isolation and loneliness during the pandemic.

Her invention went from a drawing to a digital sketch to a 3D model.

The Judges Loved the Idea

Aliya presented her design at the College of Creative studies and won the judges' approval.

“There was an executive from Rocket Mortgage that was also on the panel who came to us afterward and said we have tons of open space in Detroit,” said Crawley.

Crawford goes on to say that she'd like to see her creation used in open spaces like parks, and college campuses so people "can connect and find peace."

Design Becomes Reality

Crawford has had the good fortune of connecting with two designers at the Donut Shop who are working to gather materials to assemble her first prototype.


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