July 14th, 2007 by rbanks
New Designers is a huge exhibition held at the Business Design Center in London every year. It brings together about 4000 new post-graduates from 400 design courses around the United Kingdom, from a large number of design disciplines, including product design, graphic design, design for interaction, illustration, architecture and so on.
To be honest, it’s a totally overwhelming event because of the numbers, with products and images screaming out at you from every direction. I feel sorry for the students, some of whom have traveled from as far afield as Scotland, and who must struggle to stand out in such a dense amount of creative work. I’d thought I’d try and highlight a few colleges and students whose work managed to jump out at me before I collapsed in an exhausted heap.
Northumbria University – BA(Hons) in Design For Industry.
Students at Northumbria did a great job of telling stories with their work. I’m seeing a lot more story telling, and shots placing work in context, then I have done at degree shows in the past. Also more service design. Northumbria had some of the best of this. I particularly liked:
Lucy Denham’s Little Library system and work exploring our relationship with paper and books. While I though this would be a digital solution, looking at how paper would transform into a digital equivalent, it wasn’t. Which is refreshing.
Richard Dale’s BlueCurrent water saving membership scheme. One of a number of service designs, very nicely implemented, it’s the water equivalent of an electricity savings system, with home hardware and a web-based experience.
Simon Newbegin’s E-Motion projection games system. Not the most original name, but a really great example of the virtual/physical crossover that’s becoming more prevalent through devices like the Wii or Dance Dance Revolution.
Michael Patton’s Connected Radio Community. Another hardware + service solution, this time focused on playing and sharing music.
Rachel Watson’s Urban Eden’s project. Some great examples of low-profile, fun and integrated urban furniture. Particularly liked the brick flower pot.
Ravensbourne College – BA(Hons) Product & Furniture Design
I was just impressed by the thoughtfulness and fun inherent in a lot of the objects designed by the students from Ravensbourne. Less focused on services and stories then Northumbria, they did a great job producing thought-provoking objects. Particularly:
Yuta Watanabe’s work was just cool. I particularly liked his ’10 pencils’ project, which I can’t find on his site, but luckily I’ve taken a shot of:
In the case on the left in the shot are 10 pencils, all of which have been hacked in some way. One has been split down the middle, and pegged at one end to form a rudimentary compass. Another is a clothes peg. Anyway, his site shows more of his very cool work.
University of Brighton – ? Furniture and Products I think
Like Ravensbourne, the output of this course was more focused on the refactoring or undermining of objects. I particularly like the work of:
Sebastiano Oddi had a number of products that were really well thought out, and just came at design from a weird place. His site is a bit bare at the moment, so I can’t quite recall what they all were, but he does have shot of his edible picnic container, Mange2, up there.
Sarah Brosnahan had also designed some great objects. I liked her light pull that contains a set of matches and a candle for emergencies, particularly.
Anna Bullus’ work was also great. She’s invented a recycled material made from (among other things) chewing gum. The seat she had designed from it played on the gum connection humorously. She has a bunch of other interesting projects on her site.
Dundee University – Innovative Product Design
Students from the University of Dundee’s product design department have the unfortunate situation of having to travel the length of the country to exhibit at New Designers. They invariably get stuck up on the balcony, a little out of the way of the rest of the foot traffic (this happened to them last year) but their work really stands out for me. Like the last couple of schools, more about objects and homes. Some highlights:
Robert Djaelani‘s ‘You and my Door’ – A printer that hangs on the back of your front door, and receives SMS or e-mail. Reminds me a little of Text2Paper. Very nicely implemented. Robert’s portfolio site has some great work, generally.
Dean Brown’s ‘Table with a View’ – A bedside table with a small display that shows video being taken by small wireless cameras that can be placed around the home. Wake up to pictures of your garden. Can’t find a good picture of this, unfortunately, but here’s one of Dean’s sketches.
Tommy Dykes’ ‘Talking Memories‘ – an object you speak into to record memories, and listen to by putting to your ear. Turn it upside down and it plays loud to everybody. Really nice object.
Debbie MacLennan’s ‘Singing Shower‘ – A karaoke shower. What more can you say? Nothing more natural than singing in the shower.
A few other students whose work
Kevin Barry’s ‘Microplankton’ – (Bournemouth Art Institute) A pool of water into which is projected a digital ecosystem of tiny ‘creatures’. Really nicely done. As you look closer you see pixel-sized creatures scurrying around, in addition to larger organisms.
James Whitesmith’s ‘Samhalle’ – (Nottingham Trend University). Growing a community in a neighborhood and helping them live sustainably through a website and a a local ‘community shed.
Lucy Norman’s ‘Paperback Partition‘ – (University of Brighton) – and a lot of her other work.