Design students unveil products addressing key issues in health, home, and work

Students graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s acclaimed Product Design Engineering (PDE) department will unveil a wide array of innovative designs at the school’s degree show this weekend before taking them on tour to Birmingham, London, and Cambridge.

The students are the latest cohort following the programme that has produced leading international designers, including Jonathan Biddle of Amazon, Amy Corbett of Lego, Etienne Iliffe-Moon of BMW, Scott McGuire of Dyson, and Sam Smith of Apple.

Their designs offer creative solutions to issues facing both today’s society and tomorrow’s world. They range from a design by Nina Birchard to help with new-born resuscitation and an over-bed hospital table designed by Emily Breen for use in paediatric wards, to a toy by Fara Stringfellow to encourage children to take breaks in screen time.

They also include a new design for public drinking fountains by Anna Robb, fibre optic fabrics for cycle clothing by Duncan Pattullo, and a seating design for hyperloop, the rapid city-to-city travel system, by Tom Lever.

Working with specialists and end-users the designs are created specifically to respond to real-life scenarios. Many PDE graduates have gone on to set up award-winning companies, a number of which were founded on the success of projects that were developed while at GSA and showcased in the degree show.

“Degree Show is the culmination of many years of hard work and research, and is the opportunity for the public to see the remarkable skills and vision of Glasgow School of Art students,” said Irene McAra-McWilliam, GSA’s director.

“The Glasgow School of Art is one of the world’s top ten art and design schools. Our students’ creativity and innovation developed over their years at the GSA, and demonstrated in their Degree Show exhibitions, will be vital to the future of the economy and society not only here in Glasgow, where many of them will choose to live and work, but across the globe.”

Also on show are the outcomes of the fourth year of an ongoing collaboration with the Royal bank of Scotland, looking at the future of banking. Following co-designing approaches to banking for Generation Y and the future of banking and financial services looking ahead to 2030, this year the subject of the co-design project has been financial health.

“What is unique about this kind of collaboration is that there are essentially two groups of ‘learners’, both continually working together over an intensive period, exchanging knowledge, sharing ideas and ways of working to inform the direction the project took and the shape the outcomes,” said Kirsty Ross, the GSA’s academic lead.

“For the students the opportunity gives insight and real experience of the world of professional design practice. For the Royal Bank of Scotland it has been an opportunity to test their design methods and experiment with GSA’s user-centred design techniques.”

The Glasgow School of Art Degree Show 2019 runs on the Garnethill Campus from 1 – 9 June.