Students from London and Madrid collaborate to repurpose scrap materials

Students inspect materials at Product Design hack

Article by: David Millett

Publication date:

Product Design students from Ravensbourne University London and Madrid's ESNE (Escuela Universitaria de Diseño, Innovación y Tecnología) recently joined forces to bring new life to scrap materials at a two-day event in London.

The 'material hack' event was coordinated by Nadine Bennett, the joint course leader of our BA (Hons) Product Design course. It was a meeting of minds, ideas and culture that challenged the students' creativity and explored sustainability in design.

Around 30 first- and second-year Ravensbourne students were joined by 40 visiting ESNE students to participate in the hack, which took place from Thursday 21 to Friday 22 April 2022.

The students worked to transform waste offcuts donated by The Collective Agency, who contacted Ravensbourne after learning about the Product Design department’s ongoing work reusing and utilising local businesses’ scrap materials to improve student outcomes.

The Collective Agency is a leading product design company with a keen focus on the sustainability and ethics of design, a philosophy which is shared by the university.

See the material hack in action

Close ties with industry partners are integral to Ravensbourne, and helping students work directly with industry is at the heart of our offering. Sustainability is also very important to us, and the course encourages and explores the use of recycled and offcut materials throughout the design process.

Hosted in our state-of-the-art Institute for Creativity and Technology building, the two-day event opened with a briefing and presentation from The Collective Agency on the materials that would be available to the students. The students then collaborated in groups to discuss their plans for using them.

In the second day, the groups 'hacked' the donated materials, exploring what could be created using them. They then presented their ideas and shared their solutions with the larger group.

The teams also had the opportunity to relax together and explore the V&A, the world's leading museum of art, design, and performance.

Course leader Nadine said: “Our visiting students were so enthusiastic, they just made the days go so well. I think our students loved having new faces coming in.

"Working with new people is quite challenging, so it puts them out of their comfort zone. It’s a bit like work: you’re always going to be working with new people. It was just so good after Covid-19 to have visitors. It felt like normal, which was really lovely. We were all in a celebratory mood.”

Learn more about our BA (Hons) Product Design course

See the projects

Students make a bag from offcut materials

Product Design hack - bag

A planter made by students with offcut materials

Product Design hack - planter

Knee pads made from offcut materials by students

Product Design hack - knee pads

Necklace pendant made from offcut materials

Product Design hack - necklace

Ramp made by Product Design students

Product Design hack - ramp