Students work closely with DFS on live project

Second year BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design students were recently invited to work with the UK's leading sofa retailer to create designs and prototypes based on briefs set by the company itself.

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Willow Shepstone's final designs

Second year BA (Hons) Furniture and Product Design students were recently invited to work with the UK's leading sofa retailer to create designs and prototypes based on briefs set by the company itself.

Students were asked by DFS to consider two possible briefs, ‘British Craftmanship' and ‘Comfort', and told to explore either theme and let it inspire their designs and creations. Each student had to not only design the piece, but manufacture it, creating the product, rather than the model.

Two students who worked particularly closely with Head Designer at DFS, Scott Cogan, were Matthew Pope and Willow Shepstone, who were both exploring the art of upholstery.

Matthew said, "What I enjoy most about the course is the freedom I get to design and the breadth of live briefs that we get with real companies. The inspiration behind my work with DFS was the long running trend for families to eat their meals in front of the television. So my idea was to create a piece of furniture that could be used for comfort and be usable as a table. What I ended up with was a Pouf that you can flip over and change into a table."

Willow added, "It's really exciting to be given live briefs and to have a sense of working towards real life goals. You learn with each project and stretch your creative bounds. There is a sense of satisfaction with the completion of each project, knowing that you've worked hard and achieved something that you can be proud of."

Willow Shepstone designed a stool that required upholstery and she wanted to see how it would be done professionally.

She explained, "Our tutor Colin had previous connections with DFS and organised for us to meet with [Head Designer]Scott Coggan and his team in Long Eaton to discuss how we could develop our designs with the upholstery element. They then went on to actually help us upholster our work and show us their manufacturing techniques."

Philip Watkin, a designer at DFS said, "As a brand who has been designing and manufacturing sofas in the UK for over 44 years, it's really inspiring for us to see a new generation of design talent emerging. We were extremely impressed by the way in which the students combined their understanding of function and practicality with a creative design flair."

You can view videos of Willow and Matthew talking about their work on the Architecture, Design and the Built Environment YouTube playlist.

Students work closely with DFS on live project

Published on 2 July 2014
  • Category: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment

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