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Young designers have their eyes on the prize

Ten University students competing to make their mark on a new landmark building have been put through their paces by a design team as part of a live brief competition with specialist global insurer, Hiscox.

The Hiscox project team visited York St John University to hear the students present their final stage design ideas for a product or concept that will ultimately be incorporated into the company’s new landmark building in York.

The design competition launched in February with a brief for students to design concepts to improve the working environment and help increase productivity, cohesive working and collaboration among the Hiscox team when they move into the new building in 2015.

In addition to Hiscox, the project team includes representatives from architects, Make; commercial real estate services and investment firm CBRE; consulting engineers, designer and consultants, Arup; the Brand Experience Consultancy; Swiss furniture designer and manufacturer, Vitra; and building services consultants, BDSP.

Third year product design student, , was one of the students that presented to the panel.

His design was for modular, stackable furniture, which provides opportunities to create flexible spaces using a stool and larger coffee table product that combine to form ‘building blocks’ to create shelves, bookcases, work surfaces, office dividers.

He said:

“The competition has given us all a fantastic opportunity to work with such a variety of high profile clients.

“Obviously there can only be one winner, but we’ve all taken a huge amount from the experience already and it has stood us all in very good stead for going into the world of work next year.”

Hiscox honorary president, , joined the project team on campus to talk to the students about their ideas.

He said:

“Since Hiscox began, we have brought art into the workplace, but art isn’t just about what is on the office walls. It is about improving the working environment; giving people more energy and making them feel better.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing the energy that the students have brought to this competition and the thought they have put into how design can improve the working environment.”

The students’ concepts will be formally presented to the project team on June 19.

From these presentations, a winner will be selected and announced at a celebration in London on June 24.

The winner will then receive further professional support to develop their concept, working with Hiscox’s design partners to create a finished product that will be incorporated into the new building in York. They will also receive a £2,500 prize.

Young Designers
Pictured from left are Steve Langan, managing director Hiscox and Europe, Rowan Spear, third-year product design student, Robert Hiscox, honorary president Hiscox, , third-year product design student, Prof David Fleming, York St John University vice chancellor

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