February 26, 2020

Constance and the team

To kick off our third year on Product Design at Cardiff Met, we were entered into a student design competition run by workspace specialists W2W and design company Grey Fox.

The brief – ‘to address the need for a systems-thinking approach during the design process. You will focus on ‘circular economy’ principles to produce new designs, which improve natural human interactions in the work/learn space.’ In other words, we had to design better working and learning spaces that could be completely recyclable and sustainable.

Our lecturers on the Product Design course love to get us working together with different students within our subject year to help improve our confidence and sociability, so we were all put into groups of around 3-4 people we’d never worked with before.

Alongside my team I got straight into the design process, looking for ways in which we could improve the designs that already existed. We found through our primary and secondary research that conventional rectangular meeting room tables often stunted creativity and made collaboration difficult.

Our solution combined storage, seating and a table in a way that allowed users to create shapes to suit their own needs while promoting a collaborative working environment. We also focused on the ‘circular economy’ aspect of the project through our product’s life cycle. We carefully considered each stage from design and production to consumption and disposal.

Each group had to present their final ideas through 3 poster boards which would then be the submission to the competition. 

We found out over the Christmas break that five groups from Product Design plus another two submissions from Interior Design had been shortlisted as finalists for the competition – which meant we were headed to Dublin!

The turnaround for the trip came quickly, and on the 31st January we set off for Ireland. As we only had 24 hours in Dublin, we tried to squeeze as much in as we could! The iconic Temple Bar and Guinness factory were first on the list, followed by some time exploring the unique city’s cobbled streets. 

Soon it was the evening, and time for the awards ceremony – and some great results for Cardiff Met!

Two projects – Olio by Constance Shaw (me!), Tom Gale and Franco Podgaetzk and Nomad by Harriet Hughes, Neave Thorne and Harley Howard – were awarded with a commendation. Two more – Mandorla by Tom Lovesey, Ben Shahab and Jay Werrett and Geo by Brandon Jones, Ralitsa Petrova and Kallum Clarke – received higher commendations.

Finally, the Co-Lab concept presented by Ryan Daughtery and Jake Round was one of the two overall winners of the competition. There were amazing results all round for our teams – and of course we were even happier that Cardiff Met walked away with an overall win!

I really loved taking part in this project, as it opened my skill set up to more knowledge on sustainability and designing for a circular economy, which was new to all of us this year. I was able to develop my team work and social skills by working and travelling with new people and even develop my CAD skills through working with my peers.

My confidence has also grown after successfully presenting our work and networking with other finalists and designers – plus, having a company like an idea that you put forward is really exciting and empowering!