Started in 1985, Design Innovation in Plastics is now the longest running student plastics design award in Europe. It’s an opportunity for design students to make a name for themselves, but also for universities to raise their profile as institutes of excellence in this field.
One of the award winners is given the opportunity to work here at PDD on a two week placement and learn the tricks of the trade. An award like this not only gives the winning students a monetary prize, but also the opportunity to gain extremely valuable experience. In my somewhat biased opinion, I think this award is a fantastic way of motivating a younger generation to get really passionate and involved with design.
The aims of the award, as stated on the official website are:
To encourage students to recognise that plastics are a key design material of the 21st century.
To maintain the continued growth of the UK plastics industry based on design innovation.
To involve all sectors of the UK plastics industry in the education and the employment of young industrial designers.
To raise the overall importance of innovative plastics design through media and professional awareness.
To enable design students to have direct access to established UK plastics industry professionals for consultative and career discussions.
Naturally, competition is high. 274 students registered for the award and after a rigorous process, 6 were eventually shortlisted.
Our very own designer, James Steiner was amongst the judges given the difficult task of witling down the 6 shortlisted candidates into the 3 winners. The students each had a set time to provide a Dragon’s Den style presentation followed by a Q&A with the judges. The judges had to rank the designs from 1 – 10 on a set of criteria which included: originality, quality, addressing the brief, communication and consideration of costs.
James had the following to say about this year’s event:
“All the students did a very good job in addressing the brief; which was to design something that had a universal appeal as well as be aimed for those with physical or cognitive impairments. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the students managed to cater for both. The standard was very high. The students this year also brought in fully functioning prototypes that we were able to play around with which was great and allowed us to see their designs at work”.
The winners were…
Jamie Mansfield, Furniture & Product Design Year 2, Nottingham Trent University
Flexible Flat-Pack Clothing Hanger, a clothes hanger with flexible arms that collapse and spring back allowing the user to attach clothing via the neck without taking the hanger from the rail or undoing buttons. This is a completely original plastics product that uses an integral mechanism not seen before. Jamie has already applied for a patent and wins £1000 plus a placement at BMS in Leverkusen, Germany.
Featured and above image credit: Philip Tull/Bayer MaterialScience
Rowan Williams, Industrial Design & Technology Year 3, Loughborough University
Pego, a kitchen aid that is free of the visual aesthetics of current disability products, providing grip and stability for food preparation, incorporating kitchen knives and weighing scales. Rowan has applied for a Patent and wins £500 plus a placement DePuy in Leeds.
Image credit: Philip Tull/Bayer MaterialScience
Oliver Brunt, Design for Industry Year 2, Northumbria University
Sense See Remember, an organisational memory aid based on a series of textured and coloured adhesive tabs to use as prompts in place of expensive electronic devices. Oliver wins £250 and a placement here at PDD. We’re looking forward to Oliver joining us!
Image credit: Oliver Brunt
The standard of designs this year was remarkable, and PDD is already excited to see what great innovations the students produce next year with the theme of ‘Saving Lives – Design for Disaster Relief’. And who knows, they may just inspire you too.