Posted Friday 14 June 2013
Where would you find an eight foot teddy bear, a pair of jeans that grow with a child, barbers' brushes that double as a handy visual aid to help customers get the right haircut and a chair designed to ease the growing pains of secondary school pupils all in one place? Look no further than Kingston University's art, design and architecture undergraduate degree show which ran until 21 June.
The week-long show featured work by final year students completing courses in architecture, design, fashion, filmmaking, fine art, graphic design, illustration and animation, interior design, photography and product and furniture design.
Among the surprises in store for visitors to the show at the University's Knights Park campus was a set of tableware inspired by the everyday rituals of breakfast. Product and furniture design student Daniel Jackson's range of Obedient Objects includes just the tools to get cracking with a boiled egg - a ceramic white plate with built in egg holder and a teaspoon that doubles as a shell-cracker. The young designer from Dulwich in south London has also developed a circular spoon and a mug with a corresponding indentation, perfectly designed for squishing teabags. "I made the spoon the size of the widest teabag I could find to prevent the bag from dripping as it is removed from the cup," the 22 year old said. Daniel came up with the idea while observing the breakfast behaviours of his friends and family. "I saw the way people use objects beyond their intended function so I've adapted pieces of traditional crockery and cutlery to suit those habits." Daniel has even made a cereal bowl-come-jug specifically designed for milk-slurping youngsters.
Fellow product designer Giho Yang created an innovative solution for secondary school seating. A cleverly designed hinged panel alters the seat height and depth of his colourful chair, making it lower and shallower for younger children when in the vertical position and higher and deeper for older teenagers when horizontal. "Proper posture is very important for young people whose bodies are not yet fully developed. The chair is designed to be both affordable and ergonomic," Giho, originally from Seoul in South Korea, explained.
Meanwhile, graphic design student Jack Mercer has created the perfect product to help hairdressers' clients avoid the curse of the clippers. Numbered one to eight, his collection of barber's brushes has bristles the exact length of the corresponding gentleman's haircut, so customers can see a visual representation of what their hair will look like before taking the plunge.
His course mate Fiona Casey has come up with a way to address another length-related problem many parents will be familiar with. The 21 year old from Hampshire has produced a pair of jeans with legs that can be lengthened to keep pace with a growing child. They feature a multi-coloured, expanding panel at the knee, made from ribbon traditionally used for sporting medals and award rosettes. The panel can be unfolded in stages simply by undoing a button - as a child reaches a new height milestone their reward is to unfurl the next colour. "I wanted to create a range of clothing that celebrated growing up," Fiona said. "My best friend's son tried on the prototype and was really excited. He loved the colours while I think the money saving element might appeal to his mum, who is an accountant."
Over at the School of Architecture and Landscape students have been busy examining the cultural and natural characteristics of World Heritage sites and exploring the implications once UNESCO protection is awarded. One group of up-and-coming architects and interior designers has even been documenting the unique cultural character of the traditional London pub as they attempt to win UNESCO World Heritage status for the most British of establishments.
Dean of Kingston University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture Professor Steven Spier said the quality and variety of exhibits was testament to the innovative and entrepreneurial character of art, design and architecture at Kingston. "We're educating our students for challenges we can't even imagine yet. They are tomorrow's creatives - the thinkers and problem solvers of the future," he added. "From the evidence of this degree show, they are certainly ready to take up the mantel of shaping and improving the world around them."