Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Maker Monday Techno hacking

Maker Monday is an initiative, led by the Transforming the Region team at Birmingham City University. It aims to establish a maker community in Birmingham inspired by modern technologies.

Each event starts with a presentation by an expert usually focusing on a particular technology. A workshop follows on that topic.  Anyone can join in - you don't have to have a particular set of technical skills.

Oh, and beer and pizza is promised too.

The next workshop ‘Hack the Kinect’ (getting creative with Microsoft’s Xbox motion control equipment) is at Birmingham Open Media (Dudley St) on November 30 at 5:15pm. 

Benedict Sheehan, visual interaction expert and Kinect hacking pioneer will lead the workshop. Examples of Benedict's work are a visual installation at Glastonbury, creating videos with multiple versions of himself and an interactive waterfall.

Tickets can be booked at Eventbrite

Maker Monday also aims to connect artists and technologists on projects that continue between the workshops. Collaborations to date are:

  • Living Archive. An interactive hologram of a sculpture for art galleries and museums, which debuted at Birmingham Open Media's JHB archive exhibition in September.
  • The Internet of clothes. Clothes are tagged with RFID (radio frequency identification) chips. If they are not worn for a while an alert is sent to Oxfam, which posts out a donation envelope.
  • A communication tool for children with autism .It uses open tools and libraries to create an affordable keyboard with a voice synthesiser that can turn the text into speech. 
  • The 3D doodling wand. An affordable wand that allows anyone to create 3D drawings on their computer.

For more information please visit https://twitter.com/maker_monday or email Gregory Hough: Gregory.Hough2@mail.bcu.ac.uk

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Sid keeps his business vision on track

    Congratulations to Sid Edwards who started his Ripseam company through ILF Venture programme back in 2013. 

    He showcased his company and his patent pending alternative to zip fasteners and spoke of his experience on 24 September at the Design Council's Spark awards at London's Somerset House. 

    Sid Edwards speaking at the Design Council Spark awards

    Of over 300 applicants to the prestigious support programme, Sid was chosen as one of 30 initial participants and then earned his place as one of the 10 finalists. 

    As part of his 'dragon's den' presentation ILF helped Sid film a focus group at Birmingham City University's Parkside Building last month.

    Sid at an ILF workshop in 2013
    Sid demonstrating his innovative product at Somerset House

    Follow @adrianilfutures

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Workshops available for designers and small businesses

In need of a modern workshop space? 85 Caroline St in the Jewellery Quarter may be just what you are after. There are six self-contained soundproof workshops in various sizes – the largest could be shared by four or five individuals or a small company. And, of course you don’t have to be a jeweller to take on one of the workshops.

Facilities also include kitchen, shower and courtyard and are protected electronically with 24 hour access seven days a week.

“The workshops are on the ground floor – behind a gallery - in a completely refurbished apartment block,” explains Michele White a jewellery designer who has spearheaded the development of the new workspaces with the help of the European Regional Development Fund.

“Six benches for start-up jewellers are already taken but the other six spaces would suit any individual or small business. The aim is to develop a creative community of people with skills who can interact and help one another in a pleasant and congenial environment.”

85 Caroline St, Jewellery Quarter

If you are interested in joining this creative community please contact Michele by emailing info@michelewhite.com  or telephoning: 07801 418217.

Follow @adrianilfutures

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

On a mission - to Milan

In the first week of June, ILF's Ruth Edwards and a number of our companies joined a delegation to the Milan 2015 Expo. The group, which comprised West Midlands businesses, members of Birmingham City Council and Birmingham City University travelled as part of Birmingham Made Me's regional support initiative.

This was a chance to exchange ideas with other UK and Milanese companies including factory visits to Alessi and M&Z Rubinetterie. Clifton Steel, CMA Moldform, HF Contracts, K4 Architects, Richard Snell Design and Rudd Macnamra also attended briefings by researchers from the Midland Economic Forum, the Politecnico di Milano and Birmingham City University.

"Amazing trip, truly inspirational and more than I ever thought possible beforehand," said Roger Shafi from Clifton Steel. "We would like to offer our services out to universities to help inspire the next generation of our business and help students and other designers to understand our products and production process."

Roger Shafi, Clifton Steel and Milly Taylor, AMMBA (standing)

"The showrooms visited inspired the notion of designing for storage and integrated lighting," said Richard Snell. "I am also going to explore further development of ideas for a design history of the Midlands exhibition."

Richard Snell, Ruth Edwards and Beverley Nielsen on a visit to M&Z Rubinetterie

Follow @adrianilfutures


Thursday, 21 May 2015

"What colour! What imagination! What vibrancy!"

Brinton rug - award winning design by BCU's Amy Newman

And, just to prove it, here are some images from the Birmingham City University Trends stand at the recent May Design Series expo in London. It comprised two installations each interpreting a trend selected by GlobalColor Research

The work was a collaboration between third year textile students and companies, including a number of West Midlands businesses and Tektura Wallcoverings. The stand itself was designed by BCU architecture students.

David Roberts, Executive Dean from BCU's Faculty of the Arts, Design and Media, speaking at the event celebrated the achievement of all involved, adding "What colour! What imagination! And what vibrancy!"

The Tropic set featured chairs by HF Contracts and carpet by Brintons. Brink showcased work by mrfdesign ltd, Textiles by St Anne's, Tiled Space and Interface Flooring.

"Best of all though was the inspiring work produced by Birmingham City University"


The second day of the exhibition featured the hotly awaited student awards. Visitors had voted throughout for the best wallpaper design. Angela Paterson from Tektura presented Sarah Meredith with her prize and acknowledged the high standard of all the student wall covering designs.

Sarah Meredith and Angela Paterson from Tektura Wall Coverings

Hannah Malein from GlobalColor also admitted that her judging had been made very difficult by the level of expertise displayed in the student work. The prize for Tropic went to Amy Newman for her Brintons' rug design. Shuangyuan Zhang took the Brink award for her  mrf design's s230 Flare Chaise.

Shuangyuan Zhang, Hannah Malein Globalcolor Research and Amy Newman

Brink - ceramic tiles by Tiled Space - fabric ones by Interface Flooring

Brink - s230 Flare Chaise by mrf ltd with award-winning design by Shuangyuan Zhang
Tropic - chairs by HF Contracts on Brintons rug and award -winning wallpaper by Sarah Meredith

In their blog Global Color Research™ said: "May Design Series featured several well considered and inspiring shows within shows………. Best of all though was the inspiring work produced by Birmingham City University, taking our trends Brink and Tropic as inspiration for both installations and fabric samples; with superb results.”

And the ILF team Ruth Edwards, Kathryn Burns and Adrian Burns

Photographs by David Boynton

Follow @adrianilfutures

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

May Design Series London

The ILF team will be down in London 17-19 for the May Design Series at the ExCEL exhibition centre.  We'll be supporting three of our companies and Textile Design students from Birmingham City University.

So if any of our West Midlands companies are there, please call by stand BCU1. And, if that happens to be Monday afternoon (18 May) you'd also be welcome to join us for the the student awards session from 2pm.

The work of Tiled Space, Textiles By St Anne's and HF Contracts will feature on the stand, which showcases the skills of final year textile students.

'The Trends Project 2015 continues a long term strategic partnership with UBM Live, Global Color Research™ plus international digital wall covering manufacturer Tektura. It engages final year Textile Design students and associated academics with considerable industry and research experience to create two striking room sets showcasing news designs in response to Global Color S/S 2016 trends – Tropic & Brink. '

The ILF team, companies and students at the 2014 trends stand

May Design Series 

Follow @adrianilfutures

Friday, 1 May 2015

That was the event that was!

We thought it would be good but team ILF was bowled over by the  buzz yesterday (30 April) at  'Make it in the West Midlands - meet the manufacturer and grow your design potential'   - but we really must come up with snappier shorter titles!

Between 8.30 and 2.00 over 200  people visited the stands in Parkside Atrium and Shell. As well as the industry visitors many design students turned up to quiz the manufacturers and designers including a delegation of Year 10 pupils from Highclare School in Birmingham.

Without going all Oscar acceptance speechy, we owe a huge thanks to all the exhibitors who put in a supreme effort in from 7 in the morning until close of event at 2 in the afternoon. This was matched by our guest speakers who when not presenting held impromptu meetings with visiting companies and exhibitors.

For more about the exhibiting manufacturers see here. For the designers go here.  And, don't forget to check out our speakers Patricia van den Akker and Sheridan Chaffey.

Meeting the manufacturers and designers, BCU Parkside Building
Ed Nash from The English Leather Company

Mark Wood from Tiled Space

More picsMake it in the West Midlands photos

Some of the feedback

"One of the best organised exhibitions that we have been to in Birmingham. It's been great networking  with similar-minded people as well as learning about their making processes."

"Great event & really inspiring for our 1st year students currently exploring fabric concepts!"

"very interesting couple of hours, met some great companies so a big Thank You from me to the people responsible for organising the event"

"We thought it was brilliant for our students,  The talks also were very good for them - I think it hit home exactly what the course is preparing them for in the commercial world."

"Met a lovely chair company. Got a cheeky snap of my cushion on their rocking chair."

"A great opportunity to network and meet manufacturers under one roof. Great insight and useful tips from the speakers. Thanks to ILF for their continued support, such a lovely team."

Photography by Adem Ince, Birmingham City University student

Follow @adrianilfutures