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Product Design alumni exhibit their work at the Global Grad Show

Two Nottingham Trent University (NTU) Product Design alumni are showcasing their final year projects at the Global Grad Show, a virtual exhibition of innovation in design and technology.

Global Grad Show logo
This year's show featured the work of 100 selected students from across the world

The Global Grad Show is an exhibition of graduate work from the world’s leading design and technology schools, held in November each year as part of the Dubai Design Week. The event, now in its sixth year, has grown to become the world’s largest student exhibition.

Each project submitted for the 2020 show was categorised into one of five social and environmental challenges: living with illness and disability, coping in a complex world, saving and protecting vulnerable lives, cleaning a waste-filled planet and sustaining the urban experience.

Alessia Oliveri and Belinda Francis, BA (Hons) Product Design graduates, were both selected to showcase their projects, representing the University on the global stage.

Picture of Hero Helpers toy
'Hero Helper Dex' is designed to support children with medical conditions

Alessia’s final year project ‘Hero Helpers’ is a toy that supports emotional development and education in medical conditions through play. The toy focuses on type 1 diabetes, encouraging young children to understand and manage life with the condition in a friendly and accessible way.

It is made of soft fabric that is tactically therapeutic and comforting. The toy also comes with an interactive injection pen that helps children locate injection sites on the toy and relate them to their own body. In addition, a storybook uses playful and interactive content to encourage learning and supports children to manage their life with diabetes.

Alessia shared: “My product Hero Helpers was inspired by a matter close to my heart. Recently, I witnessed a young family member journey through the difficulties of type 1 diabetes, and the outcome is physically life changing. During this time, it was clear that the type 1 diagnosis for such a young child took its toll on the entire family through anxiety, stress and shock in this time of turmoil.”

“‘Hero Helper Dex’ is not only is an educational toy, but a supportive friend for all users, building confidence. The name ‘Dex’ derives from products associated to diabetes to familiarise the child with medical products, providing a small but memorable link between this toy and elements within the user’s daily life.”

Picture of a flat packed portable air purification device
'Ordon' combines natural and traditional materials with modern technology

Belinda is showcasing ‘Ordon’, a flat packed, portable air purification device for nomadic communities. Designed for polluted Mongolian regions where children are overexposed to poor quality air, Ordon is a flat pack, easy to assemble structure containing a protective net and filtering system. It can be transported and built easily to adapt to the needs of nomadic communities.

“Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, has had the highest spikes of indoor and outdoor air pollution in the world, due to Ger homes which rely on raw coal for cooking and heating, coal mines and power plants." Belinda outlined. "The high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) and activated carbon filters, remove the most toxic PM2.5 particulate matter from the air along with other hazardous particulates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and smoke. The product is multipurpose as it can be used as a sleep tent with the baby hammock or as a play area, particularly during the day when the coal stove is used the most.”

“The product features natural and traditional materials like birch, cotton, wool and hemp whilst also incorporating modern technology. A blend of the old and new, like the Gers today which are built with felt, wood and leather joints and are also powered by solar panels.”

“’Ordon’ meaning ‘Haven’ in Mongolian, aims to protect the fragile and developing lungs of children between 0-2 years whilst also celebrating Mongolia’s beautiful culture and heritage.”

On how it felt to be selected, Alessia said: “I was ecstatic and grateful for the opportunity to continue showcasing my work after a difficult year where we all were required to finish our degrees remotely, without access to any workshops or materials."

“After a few months the shortlist was revealed and I had never imagined that my product would have been chosen to showcase within the top 100 graduate projects, globally. I am incredibly grateful for every opportunity that the Global Grad Show has given for my project.”

Belinda added: “I felt so incredibly delighted to be selected for the Global Grad Show. Especially since Ordon is a project that is very dear to me - it encapsulates my core values and ambitions as a designer and represents the contribution I wish to make towards society. It is such an honour to have my work recognised internationally and to be a part of this wonderful global community.”

Find out more

The Global Grad Show website is live and available to the public.

See Alessia’s work and follow her progress on Instagram: @alessia_oliveri_design.

See Belinda’s work and follow her progress on Instagram: @francis.designs.

Published on 24 November 2020
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Alumni; Current students; Environment and sustainability; School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment