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Where are they now?

2018 DIP winner Alex Roquero is making an impact at a design firm in London

With upcycled and recycled plastics being at the forefront of everyone’s thinking, no one could possibly look any further than the 2018 DIP winner, Alex Roquero, for inspiration.

With highly impressive credentials behind him, including his Integrated Product Design MSc at Brunel University and being a former industrial engineer for Bosch, Alex wasted absolutely no time finding himself a great position at a design company in London.

He was snapped up by Rype Office, an award-winning office furniture company which takes a sustainable approach, applying science to furniture production and office design, re-manufacturing high-end furniture to bring it back to new, and making space-efficient office layouts combining great colour schemes.

Rype has created offices for some high-profile clients and it underlines its credibility by providing sustainability reports after installations to quantify the positive impact their customers have made on the environment and local community.

At Rype, Alex leads the development of its growing range of upcycled and infinitely recyclable products thereby helping the company to shed the ‘waste furniture guys’ tag.

Alex says: “One product I really like is our ‘RePlastic Table’ which has a top made entirely from post-consumer recycled waste plastic, so it’s a scientific and environmental game-changer. Tables like this are done by transforming everyday waste plastic – from yoghurt pots to kitchen chopping boards or even plastic bags. And because the RePlastic Table is made of recyclable, virtually indestructible plastic, it can be repaired, remanufactured or reshaped to meet changing needs. With so much focus and publicity on plastic waste today, this really has to be the direction we must go now and into the future.”

In the design environment, Alex is in his element, and is valued as a key member of the team at Rype. Even better, with like-minded people around on which to bounce ideas, he has now spending a little bit more time refining his own product.

Alex says the DIP competition gave him valuable experience, not just in developing a new product, but also for providing key contacts and subsequent work placements with DIP sponsors.

One of his placements was with RJG Technologies, an independent company specialising in injection moulding process support, training and advisory services. Alex participated in one of its courses, ‘Design for Manufacture’, during his placement there, which enabled him to further understand how concepts should be designed in readiness for injection moulding. It also got him thinking about the flow characteristics of different plastics, as well as providing hands on processing experience, creating different parts, and trying to improve the process with real case products.

As part of his DIP prize, Alex then continued on to a two-week placement with leading London design house, PDD Innovation.

“It was a very exciting challenge for me and a great experience to see how a successful design consultancy works. It’s very much a holistic approach, combining engineering and creativity.”

Alex won the 2018 DIP competition with Hook, his cleverly designed shelf which can fit on a balcony railing and carry anything from a plant to a bottle of wine.

Following the feedback gained from his placements, Alex said “I can now see a way I can improve it, so I am aiming to develop it further and see how far I can get with it.” He is consulting DIP judging panel member, technical service engineer, Mike Stuart, from the competition’s headline industry sponsor, Covestro, to help him refine the product.

And with more to come at some point in the future, what more can we say now than “watch this space!”.