Outdoor furniture designs from second year students at the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) have secured silver and bronze prizes in the Alexander Rose competition.
In addition to this accolade, the luxury garden furniture company Alexander Rose has invited silver prize winner Kacper Benicewicz and bronze prize winner Josh Younger, both BA (Hons) Product Design students, to work with them in production development and the manufacturing of their designs.
UCA Rochester student Kacper found inspiration for his modern bench design when visiting the Alexander Rose showroom.
“Alexander Rose designer Allan Muray mentioned that they were thinking of incorporating modern design into their benches,” explained Kacper, 20 and originally from Wroclaw, Poland. “I also knew that most of the entries would be based on weaving, so sending over a design make from wood would separate me from the majority of the other candidates.”
In Kacper’s bench, Minuta, the front leg completely extends to the top rail of the seat, creating an angle that provides support for users to push themselves forward when getting up from the bench.
“I started to work on my mock-up to make sure that the bench would function properly and be comfortable to sit on and when testing it, a new feature was noticed: the angle of the extended legs provides a handle for elderly users in particular to grasp and push up from as they stand, making the process easier,” said Kacper.
Kacper imagines that the bench could be placed in urban environments as well as private gardens of care homes.
Josh’s bronze prize winning design also includes benches, but those that fit with a table. The design, Divino, is a furniture set that is designed to be sculpturally fit for different environments. With a rigid exterior and curved interior seating, UCA Farnham student Josh found his inspiration for the name Divino from the plant Salvia divinorium which grows with a square stem.
“There is a lot of satisfaction in designing quality products that must fit users ergonomically and be aesthetically pleasing,” said Josh, 23 and from Bromley, Kent.
BA (Hons) Product Design at UCA has an international competitions unit for students, which enabled those entering the competition to work on designs as part of their university project.
“UCA gave me great support through all the design process, especially my tutors,” said Josh. “I had constant feedback from them about my sketches, CAD and models that I produced.”
Also hoping to have his own design company eventually, Josh wants to get experience of the design process by working for a design company when he graduates first.
“There are still a lot of things that I feel I need to learn more outside of university, which can only be learnt by working as part of an established design team,” said Josh. “I’m about to finish second year and the support and feedback I have received so far is helping me to construct a strong portfolio and name for myself in the design industry.”
“I’m delighted with this remarkable competition success for the students,” said Richard Appleby, course leader for BA (Hons) Product Design at UCA. “This is exactly the kind of industry partnership designer initiative that can launch an international career for UCA designers and we look forward to seeing the launch of Kacper and Josh’s prototypes later this year.”