290°: DJCAD Degree Show 2013
18 May 2013 - 26 May 2013
Having completed my penultimate year at Duncan of Jordanstone, this year’s degree show is a particularly engaging event for me. This time next year, it will be my work on display – an exciting and daunting prospect in equal measure. This year’s graduates have done an outstanding job producing some fantastic prototypes.
Product design is not just about creating attractive, user-friendly objects for a market. Many of the examples in the exhibition display true value. Whether it’s finding a solution to a problem, helping change people’s behaviours or raising awareness of issues, you can see how product designers are working to make the world a better place to live.
Recycled Restoration Service by Martin Smith is a “personal and bespoke furniture restoration service using recycled building materials as the main medium”. Smith’s project gives old waste material a second life in the form of a beautifully crafted piece of furniture; he has also created a personal service which directly involves the client in the design process by providing them with a series of booklets that allow them to pitch in with ideas and suggestions. Thisalso allows the client to proudly show off their new bespoke furniture – of their own design – all the while saving the planet.
Hold by Gavin Birmingham is also great piece of design. Birmingham has chosen a very specific target audience by addressing the needs of diabetics. However, the aesthetic quality of his work is where its true value lies; his choice of materials “attempts to challenge the ingrained perceptions and stereotypes that many people have about medical products”. Using aluminum and Pau-Rosa African hardwood, he has created a discrete, safe and attractive alternative to the usual diabetic “sharps containers”, used by patients to store their used medical needles. Birmingham’s project effectively shows how good design can help change people’s attitudes.
Project X by Karen Kerr is a very topical piece of design. Kerr has created a game aimed at Scottish school pupils, helping to educate them about independence in the lead up to the 2014 referendum. Personally, I am a great believer in the application of game mechanics as an effective way to educate people and Kerr has managed to create a way for young people to actively engage with politics and also shape their own views. This design will be successful in helping to break down barriers between the young and the political elites, enabling the former to take an interest in understanding the matters that will no doubt impact their lives.
Lonely Mountain Skis by Jamie Kunka is another stand-out project at this year’s Degree Show. Focusing on the construction of skis, Kunka hopes to reduce the environmental impact their construction have by replacing all the synthetic materials with natural equivalents, sourced and fabricated locally, without compromising the performance of the skis. Every pair of skis comes with a “bespoke service kit of organically derived tools and products” so that the user can easily maintain and care for their skis ensuring their longevity. Jamie has managed to challenge the conventional ways of manufacturing to add greater value and tackle environmental damage. Kunka has done all this successfully, while crafting a beautiful set of skis that won’t lose out on performance.
These are just some of the great projects on display at this years degree show and I urge everyone to go and see for themselves the inspiring work that goes on at DJCAD. It certainly has given me plenty food for thought going into my final year.