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New Designers 2012 Product Design Graduates: Baby and Toddler Products

A curvy cot made of cork, inflatable safety reins and edible potions were just some of the interesting product designs for babies and young children.

Written by Amelia Gregory

New Designers 2012
Products by Zoe Tynan-Campbell.

It’s funny how being a new parent suddenly changes what you see: I didn’t see any baby related design at last year’s show, and yet this was all I could see of the product design at New Designers 2012 part two.

New Designers 2012-Emma Doran
At UWE Emma Doran‘s Co-See considered all the important design issues for a new mum and I for one would certainly have loved to test her dual action cot and carry cot, which enables easy co-sleeping by attaching to the side of the bed with a drop down side. Instead I spent those difficult early days hoiking Snarfle in and out of a Moses basket on the floor when he needed to feed during the night, all the time cussing and cursing because my Caesarean section hurt so much. Now he just stays in bed with me. The Co-See was designed in collaboration with The Gro Company, and won a prestigious design award: not hard to see why! Not only is keeping baby close great for bonding between child and mother, but it also far reduces the likelihood of cot death (now known as SIDS).

New Designers 2012-Marcus Broughton
I am planning to do baby-led weaning when the time comes – offering Snarfle small steamed morsels to hold and learn to eat rather than pureeing food – but the design of Marcus Broughton‘s on the go Squeasy weaning pouches were rather delightful. He calls himself a Humanistic Industrial Designer.

New Designers 2012-Ralph Edwards
Before designing his Wholemilk storage system Ralph Edwards conducted some spot on research that identified a need to make it easier to express and store breast milk, enabling fathers to take a bigger role in feeding young babies. You can read about the process on his brilliant website diary here.

New Designers 2012-Jordan Brocklehurst
At Birmingham City University Jordan Brocklehurst had created a set of Penguin Play Safety Reins, which include an inflatable harness that ensures safety near water.

New Designers 2012-Zoe Tynan-Campbell
I loved these designs by Zoe Tynan-Campbell on the 3D Design course at Camberwell College of Arts. Her Stumped Studio makes gorgeous wooden interior accessories and toys.

New Designers 2012-Jack Hadlum
From Ravensbourne product designer Jack Hadlum had come up with the concept of Potions – ‘making mealtime magic‘ – the idea being to inspire fussy eaters to flavour their own food in a creative way with 100% natural ingredients. Fun shaped bottles contained savoury popping candy, sprayable jam and a magic colour changing milk. I can see even the fussiest eater enjoying these! He is also involved in a project called Wood Be Waste with the motto ‘do not recycle a material that can be reused‘ that has produced some lovely desk top products.

New Designers 2012-Nicola Danks
New Designers 2012-Nicola Danks
At Coventry University the Bumble range by Nicola Danksaddresses the limitations of current child transport products‘. Most pushchairs are so low slung they only afford the wee mite a view of legs and feet; she describes how it’s important for children to be raised to eye level so they can engage more with their caregiver. I have seen some very high rise prams, but Snarfle would far prefer to watch the world go by from chest height in a sling. Nicola’s transport system integrates a carrier, making it easy to transition between different modes of child transport – another brilliant idea.

New Designers 2012-Catalin-Andrei Edu
New Designers 2012-Catalin-Andrei Edu
Most of the industrial designers at Coventry fixated on cars (so not my thing) but I liked these bamboo animals by Catalin-Andrei Edu, which are made using sustainable processes.

New Designers 2012-Jose Olivierab
Jose Oliviera‘s Natures Best cot was inspired by cork production in his home country of Portugal. I love those gorgeous organic curves with a built in mobile, it puts my ancient Moses basket to shame. Jose used cork in its design not only for reasons of sustainability but also because it has qualities incomparable with any other material: it’s light weight, impermeable to liquid, acts as an excellent thermal and acoustic insulator and is resistant to abrasions because of it’s elasticity. I’d love to put my baby to sleep in this cot, but I fear he’s getting too big already.

I have mixed feelings about the quantity of stuff available for babies: when I was little there was hardly anything required to raise a child, and yet now we are drowning in ‘must have’ products. Some have undoubtedly made life easier, but I’m sure we could do without many of the items dubbed ‘mechanical mummies’ and whose production places such a burden on the environment. I am lucky to have been given so many hand me downs and we are frugal in acquiring new stuff when needed, but it’s good to see so many graduates considering both the ecological and inter-relationship implications in their clever new designs.


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