Monday, 29 October 2012

'Designing for the Rest of Us' - Design Innovation in Plastics 2012 Student Award at MoDiP

MoDiP is pleased to display most of the 2012 shortlisted entries to this prestigious student award as a result of its close relationship with the Worshipful Company of Horners, joint sponsor of the competition. Horn is a natural plastic. When it became evident that manufacturing in horn was no longer a viable industry the Horners adopted the plastics industry and they have now presented their outstanding collection of horn artefacts on
long-term loan to MoDiP so that it can be curated alongside  plastic artefacts. 

The Horner's Award display
The Student Plastics Design competition is held annually. It aims to encourage plastics design innovation and best practice in our future product designers. This year the brief, entitled ‘Universal Design: Designing for the Rest of Us’, was to design a product to help people with physical or cognitive impairments that is also appealing to a mass market. There were 92 entries and a short list of six.

FIRST PRZE: Flexible Flat-Pack Clothing Hanger, Jamie Mansfield, Furniture & Product Design Year 2, Nottingham Trent University 
Jamie wins £1000 plus a placement at Bayer MaterialScience

Jamie's Flat-Pack Clothing Hanger

The clothes hanger has flexible arms that collapse and spring back allowing the user to attach clothing via the neck without taking the hanger from the rail or undoing buttons.  It is also ideal for travelling as it packs flat. This is a completely original product that uses an integral mechanism not seen before. Jamie has already applied for a patent pending. 

Supporting documents provided by the designer:
JM pdf1, JM pdf2, JM pdf3, JM pdf4, JM pdf5

THIRD PRIZE: Sense See Remember,  Oliver Brunt, Design for Industry Year 2, Northumbria University
Oliver wins £250 and a placement at PDD Group Ltd

Oliver's Sense See Remember

'Sense See Remember' is an organisational memory aid based on a series of textured and coloured adhesive tabs  that act as prompts. 

Supporting documents provided by the designer:

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Floor Mouse, Gediminas Kuprys, Product Design Year 2, University of Bradford
Gediminas wins £100 and a placement at Hellermann Tyton

Gediminas' Floor Mouse

'Floor mouse' is a foot-operated computer mouse with options for using the foot control with a keyboard to suit personal needs and speeds.

Supporting documents provided by the designer:
GK pdf1, GK pdf2

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Clean-Cut,  Danny Lynch, Furniture and Product Design Year 2, Nottingham Trent University
Danny wins £100 and a placement at Brightworks


Danny' Clean-Cut

'Clean-Cut' is a tool to help those with visual or physical impairments to construct and cut sandwiches safely. 

Supporting documents provided by the designer:

HIGHLY COMMENDED: Plug Pull Adaptor, Michal Mojduszka, Product Design Year 2, University for the Creative Arts, Rochester
Michal wins £100 and a placement at Hi-Technology Group

Michal's Plug Pull Adaptor

'Plug Pull Adaptor' is a strip attachment, incorporating Braille, that makes identifying, using and removing plugs easier for everyone.

Supporting documents provided by the designer:

The Design Innovation in Plastics Award was established in 1985 and is the longest running student plastics design award in Europe. It is jointly sponsored and run by the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) and The Worshipful Company of Horners, with the continued support of Bayer MaterialScience as the principal industry sponsor. The award also acknowledges the support of Plastics Europe, the Materials Knowledge Transfer Network, the companies who provided the placements and the following publications: NewDesign, Materials World and Mould Technology.

The theme for the 2013 Award is ‘Saving Lives – Design for Disaster Relief’. You can find out more at  All finalists receive a cash prize and a placement.

MoDiP would like to thank the winning students, Jamie Mansfield, Oliver Brunt, Gediminas Kuprys, Danny Lynch and Michal Mojduszka for making their models and texts available and also Sylvia Katz, Award Coordinator, for her advice and assistance.

Susan Lambert, (Head of MoDiP)

Thursday, 25 October 2012


When I saw @CultureThemes this month asking museums to get nautical with the theme #MuseumBoats I wasn’t convinced MoDiP would be able to join in the fun.  We don't have any marine oil paintings showing grand vessels taking to the sea or any actual boats in the collection; we wouldn’t have the space to store them.   However, when I gave the idea more thought I realised we had lots of things we could share:

Ship Shape
Ship Shape by Alessi

This little ship might not be sea worthy but it can certainly sail across the breakfast table and provide butter to spread on toast, the puff of steam conceals the knife handle.

Ahoi Juicer
Ahoi Juicer by Koziol

Keeping to breakfast this piece, resembling a paper boat, is designed to squeeze juice, containing liquid in its hull rather than floating on it.

The Gill jacket and Crewsaver Buoyancy aid, which are currently on display as part of Plastics for Gold, are for the sailor to wear to keep them safe, warm and dry.

Toy dinghy

Toy dinghy

This tiny toy dinghy, part of the PHS collection, might be too small to carry you on the ocean but it can sail away with your imagination.

Elliot camera

Elliot Pocket Camera
I may well be pushing the theme a little here, but how about a yacht shaped logo? The company that made this camera is called Elliot. Not an obvious logo, perhaps, but say the name slowly ELL-I-OT: L E Yacht!

Horn engraving

Powder horn & Beaker
These two objects from the Worshipful Company of Horner’s both depict engraving made of sailing ships. The beaker is more naïve in its execution whilst the powder horn has the addition of coloured pigment.


Lastly we have a number of photographic images of small and large boats which are part of an archive from BXL, a producer of plastics of many years now no longer trading.  We are still working our way through the documentation of this collection but so far I have come across images depicting:
the interior of the QEII
dinghies designed to be carried to the water on the roof of a car
and boats destined to be rowed across the oceans
OK, so some of these links to the #MuseumBoats theme may be more tenuous than others but I think I just may get away with it, what do you think?

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Plastics take a man to space, and bring him back down to Earth again.

Did you watch the amazing feat of Felix Baumgartner along with millions of people around the world last night? 

Red Bull Stratos is a scientific mission to 120,000 ft. Jumping from a stratospheric balloon one man will attempt to break the speed of sound in freefall.

The Balloon

Type: The balloon is filled with helium to create lift. Helium is non-flammable, non-toxic if vented to the atmosphere and a safe, predictable method of ascent.
Material: It is constructed of strips of high-performance polyethylene (plastic) film that is only 0.0008 inches thick. In total, these strips would cover 40 acres if they were laid flat. Polyester-fibre reinforced load tapes are incorporated to do the weight bearing.

Photograph courtesy Jörg Mitter, Red Bull Content Pool

The Parachute

No personal parachute system has ever been used for a supersonic freefall from the edge of space. Years of development and testing have resulted in innovations including revolutionary drogue technology to stabilize Felix Baumgartner if necessary.

Balazs Gardi/

Most normal parachutes are made of Nylon so it is probably safe to assume that this one was too.

Some people are comparing this record attempt as this generation's Moon landing, I am not sure that that is true but without the engagement of new materials including plastics, neither mission would have been possible.

Well done Felix!

Louise Dennis (Assistant Curator)