On Wednesday 13 November, eight A Level DT students, Mr Wahab and Miss Graham went to Product Design in Action at the Emmanuel Centre, London. The day consisted of five lectures from an array of inspirational speakers, designed to inspire a new generation of design engineers.
Our first lecture was from Wayne Hemingway of Hemingway Design, who spoke about his early days in the industry. He explained how his girlfriend, now wife, was spotted by someone from Macy’s department store at a market stall in London, who placed a large order for her clothes, catalysing the start of their design journey together and leading to Hemingway Design.
Next we had a talk from Anna Ploszajski, a material engineer, who displayed her love for material engineering in a graph: low points being exams and high points including working for NASA. It was fascinating to hear about her time working with a team trying to beat the world land-speed record, and how the materials and gears reacted and broke along the way and the many pitfalls they faced.
After lunch we heard from from Bibi Nelson, who owns Bare Conductive, who asked us to question whether she is a designer. She showed us many art installations she had done for different companies, as well as explaining to us how she started creating Bare Conductive, an electrically conductive paint. Mr Wahab asked her about the ethics around people using her paint for the wrong reasons and how she would feel about it. To which she cleverly replied that what people do with her product it is up to them, however the ideas behind the uses people come up with are so interesting she can’t not be in awe of them.
Next was an interactive session with Pascal Anson in which everyone had to blow up and model balloons in a particular way. These were then all slotted together and placed on an audience member to create a live art piece. The exercise was designed to explore the scale of production techniques and tolerances. At the end, the balloons were all popped with pins - it was definitely one of the stranger sessions of the day!
Finally, we had a short talk from Daniel Charny, who told us about Fixperts, a learning programme that challenges young people to use their imagination and skills to create ingenious solutions to everyday problems for real people. For example, a tool to help an elderly man do up his shirt buttons after he lost the coordination to do so. This talk really made us think about what we could be doing with our engineering and design skills to help others.
It was a very enjoyable day of fascinating and thought-provoking lectures and it made us even more enthusiastic about product design!
Grace, Lower Sixth