Working with students can be very rewarding
This year has started with a series of interesting activities with architecture and design students.
In January we held the exhibition and award ceremony for our "Wood Stock" competition for young French and Belgian designers at Maison & Objet in Paris. From a total of 80 entries the jury shortlisted 15 projects from which prototypes and models were made in American hardwoods. These enthusiastic designers had some great ideas and were clearly inspired by the material. The judges were extremely impressed, so much so that the chairman of the judges has taken on one of the winning students to work full time in his studio.
In February we ran the second in a series of hardwood workshops for architectural students of the IE University in Madrid. The architectural school is based in the historic city of Segovia in series of very old buildings that have been carefully modernised. 30 final year students have opted for the hardwood module. This session was focused on wood structures and we invited Andrew Lawrence, Arup's wood specialist from London, to help us. It was excellent to see the students eagerly crowding round to show Andrew their designs and drawings and for them to have the opportunity to "pick the brains" of a real expert.
Then last week we started a really exciting project with design students from the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London. In the coming weeks Design Product students will develop chair/seating designs in an American hardwood of their choice. The most promising ideas will be developed into prototypes with the help of a leading UK manufacturer and then put on public display in September. Working with experienced furniture designers Sebastian Wrong (E&S) and Luke Hughes, the students will learn more about designing with wood creatively and technically enabling them to design and build a product that works.
Wood is a great natural and renewable material and we must invest in the "students of today" so when they became the "designers of tomorrow". They get it, use it, love it, and in turn inspire others. A rewarding thought!
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