In support of the future generation of designers, The Collective partner annually with Ravensbourne University Product Design School providing design mentoring, project support, and facilitating material exploration through the regular supply of EchoPanel® PET off-cut pieces.
The 2023 Year 1 Product Design students recently presented their innovative design solutions this years sponsored project with The Collective. The brief - design a responsible product through the material exploration and deep understanding of EchoPanel®, using only off-cut and waste pieces.
The students researched the material extensively, exploring and manipulating EchoPanel® to understand its properties and characteristics through cutting, shredding, laminating and more. Each solution celebrated the re-use of the material, resulting in viable concepts and iterative prototypes for EchoPanel® while appreciating a designer's enormous responsibilities in the materials they specify.
Anna's material exploration and focus on zero-waste led her through numerous design iterations. The final ‘Tulip Stool’ uses a positive/negative template for each EchoPanel® piece creating a sleek external silhouette while hiding unpredictable inner profile edges in the central void. Inspired by the tulip industry in her home, The Netherlands, Anna strived for a multi-coloured solution with a bio-diversity value. The design uses only three materials; EchoPanel® offcuts form the main structure, discarded woven bicycle tyres form a sprung seat, and disused chopsticks from the local Wagamama restaurant fix all componentry in place. WINNER Anna has won a two-week internship in the design department at The Collective. Her design exploration created many potential solutions, from slippers to patchwork pieces, stretching to weaving. The Tulip Stool celebrates design immersion, innovation and full material circularity.
Reya used a weaving process and hot water manipulation to create a woven backpack. Her investigations led her to immerse the woven strands of EchoPanel® in hot water, which bonded the woven pieces into place with an unexpected rigidity. These set structures were sewn together to form the carcass and straps, using an additional heat-pressed panel as the cover.
Chi celebrated EchoPanel using water to explore plant growth, resulting in the design of a plant propagator. Initially the scoring of the material housed Chia seeds and when watered resulted in their germination. The design evolved to implement a water pump a water-retaining vessel with EchoPanel® used as the stem and growth structure.
Tyler worked with velcro and LED to create an affordable, customisable, collectable lamp for kids. Inspired by The Memphis Group and their play on proportions and colours, the final design embedded LED lights into woven EchoPanel® strands affixed to an aesthetically considered base and structure also made from EchoPanel®, with the option to add various delightful finishes and shapes.
Inspired by the power of touch for the visually impaired, Abi explored the texture of EchoPanel® to create a wallet that included marked signage to direct the visually impaired user to where valuables, such as bank cards, are individually located, each with a designated pocket. Abi worked with laser cutting and heat to stamp directional patterns into the material. The final design was a bag that securely holds iPods, keys and cards with 'way-finding' scribes to illustrate where each valuable object is stored.
Jack explored the breaking down of EchoPanel® using a wire brush that created a cotton-like material, which illustrated the materials strong thermo-insulating properties. The final design was a neck warmer aimed at snow sports, such as skiing, that encloses the EchoPanel® shavings in a thermal fabric to create a comfortable neck warmer.
Jess used the strength qualities of EchoPanel® to design a heavy-duty outdoor bag for collecting logs. The main tray panel is enclosed by a thinner 'wrap' of the material to hold contents in place, scored to increase manoeuvrability and strength. The handles wrap around the base to support the weight and can be fully opened for loading and when closed secures the content in place for carrying.
Inspired by his passion for skateboarding, Julian explored a fashion solution in the form of a jacket stye garment that transports a skateboard and protects the user while skateboarding. Using eco-fashion as inspiration, Julian also created a belt design with replaceable Velcro that combines with the jacket, made from a uniquely soft-cotton texture created using wire brush strokes on EchoPanel® and curated colour patches. The design isn't solely for skateboarders but appeals to all.
Kirk’s portable laptop screen evolved from investigating an office worker's needs and how a laptop user might use this full benefits of this product. The final multi-purpose design offers a laptop carrier, a desktop privacy screen and pockets and pouches for small accessories. Kirk reworked and divided the material structure of EchoPanel® to create larger, thinner sheets, extending the material usage using a heat press. Kirk's design considered sustainability, material circularity, portability, colour, and branding.
Kyle designed CWTCH - a phone booth that represents a cosy and secure embrace. Welsh for cuddle, CWTCH has been inspired by the soft felt texture of EchoPanel® and its sound absorbency properties. Kyle wanted to avoid using glue, instead using chopsticks to connect each piece to fix the structure and allow for disassembly. The final product is strong, aesthetic and sound-absorbing, with an additional softness that retains the purity of EchoPanel®.
Michelle approached her design solution by taking inspiration from sound and its effect on well-being. Using EchoPanel® strands, she used a flat-weave technique to create balls filled with smaller off-cut pieces that, when shaken, resulted in a softly hushed rattle sound. In addition each ball is infused with essential oils for increased sensory receptiveness.
Ozzie, inspired by the acoustic properties of EchoPanel®, chose to produce sound through a portable amp for impromptu use by buskers and magicians. The entire carcass is crafted from EchoPanel®, taking inspiration from edge fixings with a design language seen through the product. A waffle-weave solution forms an effective front panel using heat-pressed EchoPanel® resulting in a design that creates a light and comfortable portable solution, playing on the notion of sound.
Pemila used EchoPanel® offcuts to design a loveable collection of children's characters in the form of a jigsaw-style puzzle. The character's dimension and colours change, giving each family member a unique personality, with considered dimensions of distinct proportions giving individuality and character. The design also allows for a fun limb and torso interchangeable.
Inspired by ball sports and the game of Lacrosse, Rahat designed a portable ball & net wall game using the weaving principles of EchoPanel®. Rahat's product can catch and store the balls for transportation using an organic design that offers a tactile and organic solution through this distinct wrapping and weaving.
Riaz explored and researched the ancient Asian method of weaving struts to create a self-supporting stool solution that uses no glue. EchoPanel® off-cut lengths make up the binding fibres, with the spokes being fixed at three critical points offering stability and a striking structure.
Sankar designed a sculpturally focused, fixed table partitioning system, showcasing and celebrating the bold colours and original shapes already created from the EchoPanel® offcuts. For connecting the pieces, Sankar uses a traditional Japanese no-glue bonding technique while also taking inspiration from The Memphis Group for shape configurations and colour connectivity.