Sheds aren't often thought about as a marvel of design, but in 2005, forty students of interior and furniture design at Edinburgh College of Art mounted a major exhibition showing what could be done with the humble garden hut.

Students were divided into groups, and then given a flat back shed from a hardware store to build in the studio. Once they'd built it, they were given a week to devise ways of customising their shed for a new function. They proposed converting them into a forest lovenest, an observatory, a magical changin room, and even a children's theatre.

Once the designs were complete we sprung a surprise on the students: they weren't going to be building their own shed, but someone elses. Once the shouting had died down, they set to work building from someone else's drawings. All the traditional objections arose: there wasn't enough information, the building work was proceeding too slowly. The students spent a month learning just how difficult it isto get things built on site, on time, on cost.

Finally, the sheds were exhibited to the public- in the carpark at the very hardware store where they'd originally been purchased.

Design isn't just a technical, or even an artistic enterprise - it's social, and this project was designed to help students grasp just how important it is towork with others.