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An eye for design

17 December 2018  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

Mr Braham, Mr Dawson and twenty-four product design students, from Years 12 and 13, recently headed up to IKEA at Gateshead for a research day.  A-level Product Design encourages students to think about production methods and consider the needs of users from design to manufacture. Students are also required to think about the environment and environmental impact of the materials used by companies for their products and during production. As a destination for a Product Design trip, Ikea is a fantastic place to visit and demonstrates a lot of the key information students are required to know for the A-level course. Mr Braham, Mr Dawson and twenty-four product design students, from Years 12 and 13, recently headed up to IKEA at Gateshead for a research day.  A-level Product Design encourages students to think about production methods and consider the needs of users from design to manufacture. Students are also required to think about the environment and environmental impact of the materials used by companies for their products and during production. As a destination for a Product Design trip, Ikea is a fantastic place to visit and demonstrates a lot of the key information students are required to know for the A-level course. During the trip, Students had various tasks to complete and were encouraged to look at Ikea’s products from a designer’s point of view. What is the most common material Ikea use, and why?  What is it that makes Ikea so unique and successful? Students found that visiting Ikea as a designer, rather than a customer, inspired them to think about these questions and it enabling them to see a lot of what had been discussed in lessons in real-life. Ikea’s world-famous flat-pack design is what makes Ikea products so successful and, in some ways unique, and it is important Product Design students understand why. A big part of the trip was a focus on the environment. Ikea is renowned for its ‘cheap’ furniture, a lot of which is classed as ‘throw away’. Both can be unbelievably damaging to the environment. Students were pleased to find that Ikea is one of the leading companies in minimising damage to the environment and is keen to show how. Their plastic sandwich bags are made from 85% renewable material from the sugar cane industry and can be resealed (so they can be used again) and the timber used in many of the products uses FSC wood – meaning that the timber is from sustainable sources. Ikea use their own policy – the ‘I Way Standard’ which are Ikea’s guiding principles for working with materials and considering social and working conditions. Overall, students found the experience very valuable and were intrigued by the planning and design that goes into an Ikea product. Students will use the research for their own theory studies and as Primary Research in their coursework.

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