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Who will be the Lucky Winner?

Newbury, July 02, 2014

This year almost 300 students from 19 universities once again registered for Europe’s longest running student plastics design award  – Design Innovation in Plastics.

After an intense preliminary judging session in March, six finalists were selected to go forward to present their designs to a panel of judges at the final judging stage that was held in London at the end of May. The winners will be announced at the annual Award Ceremony to be held on Friday, July 4.

Bright ideas and lots of creativity
The competition brief was to design an educational product in plastics that stimulates divergent thinking and creativity.  It had to be original, functional and innovative and above all, provide an engaging playful experience. Consideration also had to be given to the target market, which included all age groups, as well as the likely reasons for using the product.

Six students, Freddie Paul, Lee Gold, Stephen Vaughey, Helen Campbell, Michael Tougher and Nikian Aghababaie, all successfully tackled this brief and have earned themselves a place as one of this year’s finalists.

The final judging session was held in London in May and finalist Freddie Paul, a 4th Year Product Design student at London South Bank University presented a brain-storming tool to stimulate ‘light bulb moments’ and divergent thinking. It consists of a concept ball that holds a selection of ‘inspiration’ discs that are printed with random words, and a frame for launching the ball. The ball is caught by a member of the team which starts the flow of creative ideas.  “This brings a new meaning to the words ‘throwing ideas about”, said judge Robin Kent. Judge Sergio Malorni even went a step further and said: “There’s potential at the game level beyond brainstorming”.

Lee Gold, 3rd year product design student from Coventry University developed a visual, kinesthetic educational product aimed at bringing more enjoyment into learning about plastics. It consists of a multi-faceted, polygon shell that can hold interchangeable inserts (swatch samples). Each swatch face is divided into five segments illustrating different surface finishes etc. Judge Robin Kent commented that it is “a real ‘touchy, feely’ method of getting to know more about plastics”.

Stephen Vaughey, a 3rd year product design student from Dublin Institute of Technology, presented a modular plastics kit consisting of snap-fit lengths and joints. It was designed to stimulate the imagination for making custom armatures for building structures out of modeling materials that would normally be able to support themselves. “Whoever thought there was a new idea for Plasticine?” commented the judges.

Helen Campbell, a 4th year student of Product Design Engineering  at Glasgow School of Art, developed a construction system for recycling dairy product packaging. A slotting mechanism transforms the pots into a construction toy. As Richard Brown chairman of the judging panel commented, this is “a nourishing solution that leads to construction models”.

Finalist Michael Tougher, who also studies Product Design Engineering at Glasgow School of Art, designed a product based on stackable, flexible buttons representing individual musical notes to encourage music comprehension and play, and to inspire people to create music. Each button emits a sound when pressed. The buttons can be stacked to produce a chord and can be connected to other technology such as a tablet.

1st Year Product Design Student from Nottingham Trent University, Nikian Aghababaie, was selected as a finalist for developing a product that encourages deaf, blind, autistic children aged 5 to 10 to relate to each other by communicating through music, sound, light and vibration. The product consists of a set of 7 seats each corresponding to a note on the C Major scale. They vibrate, produce sound and illuminate providing sensory stimulation.

With the help of the Award mentoring scheme, the six finalists now even have access to specialist advice from members of the judging panel to assist them in bringing their design ideas to market.

This year’s keynote speaker at the Award Ceremony will be Richard Heayes, a former winner of the competition. In 1987, two years after the Award was founded, he won top prize for the design of a modular sports net system.

At the ceremony Richard will talk about the power and importance of Play and how it can shape the world around us. He most certainly has plenty of insight to share on this topic as he has been working for Hasbro for several years and has recently set up Heaves Design, a Play centered design consultancy.

And the winner is …..
The prizes will be awarded by Bernie Rickinson, Chief Executive of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, co-owner of the Award with The Worshipful Company of Horners. 

If you want to learn more about our finalists and their great ideas follow us on Social Media. We have some great videos and pictures waiting for you at www.designinnovationplastics.org / @designinplastics