The first week of July saw part 2 of New Designers take place at the Business Design Centre in Angel, London. For 4 days, the top UK design graduates put out their best work to leave industry and the general public in awe. Furniture, illustration, graphics, set design, product design… They had it all! Companies such as John Lewis, The Mars Company, Wilko and Tigerprint, to name a few, all attended and awarded fantastic prizes throughout the event. It is not just a show where each graduate stands a little too eagerly by their stand, trying to rope someone from industry to talk to and hoping, above all else, to be employed there on the spot, but rather an intense opportunity to listen to fantastic talks, meet people from industry and, most importantly, meet fellow students from the different Universities. Whether you are making friends or your competitive side gets the better of you, it is a real eye opener to see what people in the same position as you can really do. It also makes you realise that networking is the key. Let me show you a glimpse of what the week had in store.
The talks were simply fantastic. If you’ve never heard someone talk about IP in an interesting way then you must attend an event like this! These seminars included Business Know-How and IP, materials, illustrations, commercial viability and the fusion between digital and physical design. Luckily enough, there were numerous talks to break up the day in the sweltering heat. Yes, the building was boiling simply because it is a giant greenhouse.
Besides the well crafted projects that filled the Business Design Centre, each individual University’s stand was a gem in itself. Why, they even had a prize for the best stand! Below are a few examples of the stands ranging from the lowest budget stand to the winners of best stand design.
Now, the most important part, the products themselves. Here are a few products out of the thousands that were on display that really caught my attention. Whether aesthetically beautiful or ridiculously clever, these projects were by far my favourites!
Made in Brunel (ie Brunel University) stole away the Mars award for an ingenious little product. The product itself is a summer sandal that grows with the child! How you may ask? Simple. You would buy the sole base and it has a maximum of 3 velcro straps that can be added to the sandal. With each summer that passes, rather than buying new shoes for your kid, you simply add on another ‘rim’ to the shoe thus making the shoe bigger. Elizabeth White’s prototype displayed 2 rims to go with the original shoe. Not only would your kid have some flashy sandals, but the parent would definitely be saving money on buying their child new sandals each summer due to their rapidly growing feet!
Made in Brunel were one of my favourite stands in terms of products. The above collection of delicately designed wooden objects are from one of Brunel University’s final year group projects. The concept was to picture a brand in 20 years time and design for its future. This group had National Geographic. As magazines may slowly decrease to nothing, they thought the physical and natural world would be the new direction of the company. They designed a set of outdoor pieces of equipment for both adults and children alike. The collection includes a child’s magnify glass in which a camera is incorporated so that the child can digitally capture the bugs they discover and a portable microscope but to name a few of the products shown.
Neighbouring the Made in Brunel stand was the University of Sussex and their myriad of ideas. Although it was the lowest funded University for New Designers it was, impressively, the most versatile in terms of products. The product that stole my heart was definitely Maxim Grew’s Intrepid Camera. While traditional forms of photography, in this case, specifically large format photography die out we would be losing an art form. Maxim simply modernised the manufacturing process creating an open source project that allows anyone to download the CAD files and boom! Add a laser cutter or 3D printer and you’ve got yourself a fully functional camera! The bellows are made of card and fabric and, according to Camera Man Maxim Grew, lens are easy to come by in camera shops. More over, the film used is exactly the same as that of a polaroid so have no fear! You’ll always be able to get your hands on some film! Keep an eye out for this one! I hear he might be setting this up on kick-starter! Just gorgeous!
This I spotted at a distance while strolling around with my friend. We wondered what the beautiful object was so wandered up to Freddie Paul’s product. The almost chemistry set-esk aesthetic I find very appealing and intriguing, but I was not expecting it to be a Beer Tree. This project was to make ‘Brewing Beautiful’ and wow does it! Each flask has settings with temperature monitors and other such needs for each individual ale brewing process. The result? A bitter ale that we were allowed to taste in his simple but charming bottle packaging. Definitely my favourite product from New Designers 2014!
I wish good luck to all those students that partook in New Designers. It was a tiring 4 days full of opportunities, friends and of course, the impossible escape from the green house heat! Well done to those who have already secured a job and chins up for those still battling through the process of obtaining a job!