The brief for this year’s UK Design Innovation in Plastics Award, the longest running student plastics design award in Europe, was one that was very much in tune with the times: Design for a Natural World. Participants were challenged to design a product commonly used outdoors in the natural environment, that would ‘showcase the environmental positives and longevity of existing polymer materials, potentially exploring the possibility of using recycled plastics’. Among others, an important criterion was sustainability: the product was to bear evidence that an understanding of the principles of sustainability had been applied to the design.
The judges received an almost record number of entries, out of which six finalists were selected. The finalists were given comments on ways to improve their design in preparation of the final judging stage, which has now taken place.All the finalists had taken ‘an exemplary approach to their work’, noted the head judge, Richard Brown, the former managing director at RJG Ltd, in his summing up at the final of the competition. “In particular, it was clear the students had been very thorough in their research in order to meet the criteria of the brief ‘Design for a Natural World’.”
The result of the judging will be announced at the DIP award ceremony on Friday, 2 July. Invitations will be sent out shortly for the online ceremony, which will also be accessible via the DIP website.
The Design Innovation in Plastics Award, established in 1985, aims, among others, to encourage students to recognise that plastics are a key design material of the 21st century. It is supported by the Institute of Materials Minerals and Mining, and the Worshipful Company of Horners, and headline sponsored by Covestro.
The award carries a cash prize of £1000 for the winning entry; there is a second prize of £750 and a £500 third prize. Highly Commended entries are awarded £250 each.
In addition, the winner is invited to visit to the global headquarters of raw materials supplier Covestro, in Leverkusen, Germany, including the chance to visit departments focusing on materials, future designs and trends.
The winner will also receive an invitation to the Worshipful Company of Horners Annual Banquet, as their guest, at the Mansion House, London held annually in October.
DIP is unique in that it also offers a short industry placement to all six finalists with one of the competition sponsors, Brightworks, Innovate Product Design, PDD and RJG Technologies.
The six finalists and their products are:
Pol Blanch – Brunel University
D-Shield: a semi-translucent foldable shield that minimises spray drift, blocking pesticides from drifting during application.
Christopher Farrell – Technological University Dublin
ClearWater: a handheld water quality testing device for the presence of chemicals in water, due to run-off from land, providing on the spot testing for several chemicals in one go.
Euan Gibson-Smith – Glasgow School of Art
ReCreate: a monthly educational service enabling children aged 7-11 to convert plastic waste into recyclable outdoor products.
Pradip Gurung – Brunel University
Stratus: a wildlife collar specially designed to prevent illegal poaching of big cats.
Finlay McEwan – Glasgow School of Art
Equipoise: a reusable plastic gas canister for outdoor cooking, with a stand designed for stability on rough terrain.
Andrei Petrar – London South Bank University
AER Drone: a fully autonomous drone which can be deployed in an emergency to alert rescue services.