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MDX alumni ask London Design Festival ‘what is a product designer?’


Guests at the What is a Product Designer eventProduct Design alumni from Middlesex University descended on the Hoxton Gallery in September for a challenging exhibition that formed part of London Design Festival 2013.

Organised by the University's Product Design department, the 'What is a Product Designer?' event was put together to stimulate a discussion that questions the assumptions and misconceptions surrounding the wide-reaching discipline.

At the heart of the exhibition was the professional output of a range of Middlesex University alumni, which helped to shine a spotlight on the complexities surrounding our concept of what constitutes a 'product' and the huge contrasts in work typically falling  under the 'product design' banner.

To stimulate further debate around the event's central theme, a pop-up photo booth was installed in the centre of the gallery on Kingsland Road in east London, with visitors asked to write down their personal definition of what constitutes a 'product designer' and have their picture taken with it.

Wyn Griffiths, Product Design Programme Leader at Middlesex and curator of the event, said: "We are hosting a series of events over the coming weeks and months to begin the collaborative creation of a book by crowd-sourcing the opinions of designers and the public, with the aim of exploring the present and potential future directions for product design.

"It's been a lively, creative start to this ongoing collaborative discussion, with great attendance, vibrant conversations and positive media interest."

Former students whose work was on display included Adam Amos, Co-founder of Breakthemold; Kieron-Scott Woodhouse, creator of the world's first bamboo smartphone and Co-founder of K&F Design Studio; and Menelaos Florides, Creative Leader at LEGO Group.

Other alumni such as Swifty Scooters CEO, Jason Iftakhar, and Ben Arent, Founder of Exceptional Cloud Services and Product Line Manager for Rackspace Hosting, also exhibited at the event.

Alongside the BA Product Design alumni, Middlesex's collaborative partners and associated experts also exhibited their professional output as part of the event.

"The exhibition was a cunningly executed showcase on the diversity of a subject that spans an undervalued industry," said Adam Amos, who graduated from Middlesex in 2008 and went on to be an Architectural Designer at Huf Haus before setting up his own company.

"Exhibitors and the public were pushed to explore what it means to be a product designer and with a fitting twist of interactive engagement that drove further discussion, it proved exactly why it was great to be involved," he added.

Wyn and his team now plan to continue the conversation at the Old Truman Brewery from 19 to 22 September as part of the Tent London event, before ultimately producing a book tackling the subject.

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