Martyna Konopka's Rehabilitation Jug for stroke patients takes annual prize.
14 Oct 2014
A jug designed for stroke patients which incorporates rehabilitation into everyday lives has won this year’s prestigious Designing For the Future (DFF) Competition at the University of Brighton,
Designing for the Future is run by The Future Perfect Company in conjunction with the University of Brighton and encourages student designers to think about the challenges and issues affecting our ageing population – and to create innovative and attractive designs which allow older people to continue to live meaningful, enjoyable, active and independent lives.
This year’s winner Martyna Konopka, BSc Product Design, designed a rehabilitation jug that trains the brain by introducing a new and more challenging way of carrying out the everyday task of pouring a liquid. By sparking conversation and encouraging interaction, it also helps regain independence. Commenting on the Competition Martyna said: “Young people, and therefore young designers, have a tendency to overlook illnesses and medical conditions associated with age. It is important to look past our fear of getting old and start helping the ageing population with problems they face on a day to day basis”.
The competition runners-up were:
Harry Hope-Morley, BA Design & Craft, who focussed on the challenges of working into later life. His stool is based on the principles of the balance ball and is designed to improve posture and reduce back strain.
Claire Ellison, BSc Product Design, whose entry was the 'Be Free' wheelbarrow system designed for use by older people which reduces back strain by encouraging a better posture and featuring a double wheel for increased stability.
Camilla Small, BA Design & Craft, was highly-commended for her project designed to improve communication between doctors and patients by ensuring that patients make more effective use of consultations with their GPs by identifying and recording their symptoms in advance.
The winners receive a package of mentoring and support to help them to develop their products and ideas further and emulate the success of previous “Designing for the Future” alumni who have gone on to win further awards and establish their own design studios and workshops. Most recently Chloe Meineck won a residency at the Design Museum for her Musical Memory Box first developed as part of the Designing for the Future brief. Joshua Barnes won the prestigious Design Council Future Pioneer Award at last year’s New Designer’s show for his augmented reality communication quilt which had its origins in his work for “Designing for the Future”.
Run up to now with students from the 3D Design & Craft BA and MA programmes from the Faculty of Arts this year the project was expanded to include students from the School of Computing Engineering and Mathematics studying Product Design (BSc). The organisers hope to open up future Competitions to students from more disciplines. Dr Tom Ainsworth and Dr Eddy Elton led the project for the University of Brighton.
Dr Eddy Elton said: “The Designing for the Future competition offers design students the invaluable opportunity to develop their ideas into market ready, viable solutions. What is fantastic about the competition is that it gets designers to immerse themselves in design challenges that will endeavour to deliver societal change. What is particularly inspiring, is the approach taken by this year’s competition winner (Martyna Konopka); designing a solution that challenges the user in order to retrain their brain after a stroke.”
Judges this year included Professor Peter Lloyd, University of Brighton; Philippa Aldrich and Charles Palmer from The Future Perfect Company; Gretel Jones, formerly senior consumer markets policy adviser at Age UK and Tom Serpell, Director of Eastbourne – Designed for all.
Judge Tom Serpell said: “As a "senior" myself, I find it a joy and very stimulating to see the creative and thoughtful work of these students and hope that some, if not all of these ideas find their way to the market. Well done once again to DFF for this excellent competition”.
The “Designing for the Future” competition with the University of Brighton is now in its fifth year and has become a touchstone for debate about ageing and design. Work from the Competition has been showcased at various public and academic roadshows and conferences.