Back to nature | Breakthrough Funding

Monday, July 16, 2018

Back to nature

Plastics have been getting a bad rep, but young minds are finding creative uses for the controversial material

Much of the news around innovation these days seems to focus on technology, such as AI, robotics and software. With technology being pressed into service more and more – from delivery drones to self-driving cars – anything with a circuit board seems to have been hogging the headlines.

So, it was refreshing to hear that the winners of the annual Design Innovation in Plastics competition have moulded their ideas around connecting human beings with nature. Students from Brunel University London took both first and second place in the contest, which had issued a brief focusing on garden innovation.

First place went to Alex Roquero, who created a handy outdoor accessory aimed at the urban gardener. More people are living in smaller spaces, with gardens to match, so his ‘Hook’ invention combined a fence-mounted planter with a nifty arm to hold things like wine glasses and coffee cups – true essentials of outdoor living! The Product Design student realised that making smart use of space was just as important as creating an aesthetically pleasing solution.

Multi-function was also at the heart of the runner-up’s design, a bulb-shaped planter / bird feeder / light holder designed by William Oughton. Able to attach to any type of fence, the multi-purpose pot boasted a broad array of applications.

The competition shows that although the problem of single-use plastics is still a pressing one, as an innovation material, plastic can still be both useful and beautiful.

Are you working on a design innovation that doesn’t have a microchip in sight? Tell us about the challenges you’re tackling, we’d love to hear from you on 0800 772 0800.

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