It's a tough time to leave university. But in the face of debt, an uncertain economy and fierce competition for work, these 15 design graduates have, between them, amassed an outstanding collection of innovative and diverse projects: perfect launch pads for life beyond the classroom.
Central Saint Martins, MA Communication Digital Design Media
Maxence Parache's interactive project Hyper(reality) is designed to heighten our experience of museums using Microsoft Kinect 3D gaming software. A helmet fitted with high-definition glasses and a glove with force sensors are programmed to enhance individual museum environments, allowing the user to change their viewpoint and move among the exhibits. The whole project was inspired and facilitated by open-source information on the internet. Parache says: "I found out how to do everything online – even moulding and vacuum-forming the plastic helmet."
RCA, MA Design Products
As creepy as it may sound, Alexander Groves' Hair Glasses are exactly what you think they are. Glasses made of human hair. Plaited or in loose strands, the hair is set in tinted bio-resin to make a sheet material, which is then cut and heat-bended to make the frames. The project (a collaboration with former RCA graduate Azusa Murakami) started by considering hair as a natural, renewable and biodegradable resource and testing it for uses other than hair extensions. "I was expecting people to be more sheepish about wearing other people's hair," says Groves. "But it's gone down incredibly well."
Kingston University, MA Product Design
Hannah Niskanen-Benady's table designs are all about contrast, pairing the softness of knitted wool with hard wood surfaces. "The sharp lines and the detailing on the legs are intended as a frame for the knitted container," she says. "It's a safe, warm place for you to hide all your treasures away." The project plays with the associations of knitting as well as finding a clever way to make use of the space beneath the tabletop. You can see Safety Vase in the Kingston graduate group show at Shoreditch Town Hall, during the London Design Festival.
Central Saint Martins, MA Industrial Design
The Knitting Craftsman
Jan Rose has taken the innocent craft of knitting and interrogated it for the purpose of industrial design. In place of wool, he's used tougher materials such as seatbelts, stainless steel tubes and leather strips to push the process to new limits. The resulting collection, which includes two storage bags, a nest-like lampshade and a doughnut-shaped pouf, is about "taking established materials and looking at how they can be used in a completely different way," Rose says. As beautiful as the finished products are the two machines Rose crafted to cope with his unconventional threads; both are made from wood reclaimed from old weaving looms at Central Saint Martins.
Central Saint Martins, MA Furniture Design
Anne Frobeen's research uses the human body as a design tool. Wearing a white body suit with black lines to emphasise her body as a basic form, Frobeen began her project by improvising different movements around a chair. Images and scans of these movements were developed into models and 1:1 experiments that eventually became the long, lean forms of her final pieces. The resulting project is a refreshing rethink of the established rules of ergonomics: both pieces of furniture encourage an open sitting position that is based on "expanding the body rather than contracting it," Frobeen says.