Hot desk design nets prize for UWE student

Issue date: 16 November 2009

Penny Blurton with Bisley's Director of Design, John Fogarty A Product Design student from the University of the West of England has won a three month work placement at Bisley Office Furniture. The prize was awarded by Bisley at the Frenchay Campus today [Monday 16 November 2009].

The UWE Product Design course has worked in partnership with Bisley for a number of years to develop real life opportunities for students.

The students were set a brief during the summer term by Bisley's Director of Design, John Fogarty, to design a portable work station. All the design solutions were assessed and judged by Bisley for innovation and workability with the winning entry going to Penny Blurton who has been offered the valuable prize of a work placement at Bisley.

Third year product design student Penny Blurton has designed a mobile office work station called 'Porto' designed for hot desking and people who have to work on the move. The 'Porto'workstation resembles a trolley but is in fact an office on wheels and includes drawers so that workers can carry paperwork and stationery items.

Penny, a mature student, explains, “One of the problems associated with mobile working is that people have to carry their office paraphanalia with them each time they move location. The 'Porto' design overcomes this problem by providing an easily portable unit that can be moved with the worker to new locations very easily.

“I needed to find a design solution that was easy to manoeuvre, practical and robust with storage for laptop, mobile phone, writing equipment, files, CDs and a few personal items and I think 'Porto' fits the bill.

“I'm delighted to win the prize. Working at Bisley will be a very valuable experience for me.”

John Fogarty, from Bisley, has worked with UWE's Product Design department over a number of years. He said, “Bisley is constantly evolving and developing its product range to ensure that it supports the way people work and behave in and around the workplace. We are always keen to harness new talent and encourage fresh ideas - working with UWE in this capacity is a great way to do that, whilst supporting enthusiastic and talented students.

“We hope that by offering the opportunity of a real project and a formal brief, provides the students with a great experience that will transfer to their working careers. We have developed a good working relationship with the lecturing team at UWE and we are always impressed by the high standard of entries and the professionalism shown by the students.”

Doug Barber, Product Design lecturer, set up the project with Bisley and agreed the brief that would be set. He emphasised how students need to learn not just how to design useful and marketable products but to communicate with customers and sell their ideas. He said, “It is imperative that students are able to present their ideas professionally. The best idea will never get to manufacture if a designer fails to get past the initial meeting hurdle. We try to integrate real opportunities like this into the course so that the students can market themselves effectively.”

Penny will take up her work placement on 4 January 2010 for three weeks (full time) followed by a period of part-time work which she will combine with studying.

For more information about the Product Design course at UWE see: Product Design

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