UWE student wins RSA prize for innovative toaster design

Issue date: 04 July 2011


A student from the University of the West of England has won a prestigious RSA Student Design Award prize, ‘the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 Award' of £700 for an innovative take on the humble toaster.

James Eelbeck is in his final year of the Product Design Technology course at UWE and has won the award for his design called ‘Love Toast'. The category brief was ‘Make something disappear: use design to eliminate waste, overproduction or excessive consumption'.

The prize was awarded at a special event at the Royal Society of Arts in Adam Street, London on Wednesday 29 June. James says, “It was a great day and I'm obviously thrilled to win the prize. I met up with all the other RSA prize winners and also got the chance to talk to previous winners. I'm now a Fellow of the RSA which will be really helpful as I am about to embark on my career as a designer.”

‘Love Toast' reduces and controls convective heat so that heat normally lost through a conventional toaster is safely contained and used to facilitate more efficient toasting; it is designed so that users develop a ‘care and repair' ethos toward the product.

James explains, “The toaster is better for the environment as it has been designed with extended life in mind, it is easy for owners to diagnose faults, replace parts and reassemble. Hopefully this will mean fewer toasters going to landfill as owners mend rather than throwing the toaster away. I'm also very pleased with the convection control as this means toast is ready in half the time of a normal toaster and uses half the amount of power.”

The RSA prize is the second national prize that James Eelbeck has won whilst at UWE. He won the Constellation Europe Innovator of the Year prize in 2009 for an innovative packaging concept for the wine industry.

James says that the Product Design Technology course at UWE has been really diverse and interesting, “It's given a really thorough grounding in creativity, technology and business and I think it has helped me focus on an ambition to try to make a positive impact on sustainability through design.”

James will also be showing his final degree work at New Designers in London.

David Henshall, Creative Product Design Lecturer comments, “James Eelbeck's RSA winning project explores ideas around energy consumption, the benefits of longevity and the need for closed loop recycling to help make the future design of electrical appliances more sustainable.

“James' toaster takes a holistic approach. Through the use of an aluminium closed box format less energy is needed to make toast. All the parts are designed to last and are replaceable and recyclable without compromising function or aesthetics.

“We are delighted that James Eelbeck has won this prestigious award. This again confirms UWE Product Design ranking within the UK's leading Product Design Courses. The RSA award's sponsorship by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 brings a special pride and significance for James and UWE Product Design with its historic links with the V&A and the Science Museum.”

To find out more about UWE Product Design course visit http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/et/edm/courses/oursubjectareas/productdesign/studywithus.aspx

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