Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Student winners at 2016 Furniture Show

Back L-R Hannah Malein (ColurHive), Joanna Cain (Tektura), Marlene Little (Deputy Head, School of Fashion and Textiles), Colin Gale (Head of School of Fashion and Textiles)
Front L-R Rosie Williams (Textiles Student), Hannah Trickett (Textiles Student), Julie Mason (Tektura), Jessica Boynton (Textiles student)

Just a quick update to the recent posts about this year's Furniture Show and the Birmingham City University Trends Stand.

At the industry/students event on Tuesday 26 January three textile students were recognised for their exemplary design skills.

Rosie Williams won the ColourHive  (formerly Global Color Research) award for best interpretation of the 'Strata' trend while Jessica Boynton took the ColourHive accolade for her work on the 'Play' trend.

Meanwhile Hannah Trickett, designer of the Shard wallpaper took the Tektura prize following voting by visitors to the show over two and a half days.

Hannah Trickett (left) with Julie Mason, Tektura

Jessica Boyton (left) with Hannah Malein, ColourHive

Rosie Williams (right) with Hannah Malein, ColurHive

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Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Furniture award nomination for HF Contracts

Congratulations - and commiserations - to HF Contracts and designers David Rowe and Richard Snell. Their Cello Chair collaboration was nominated for a Furniture Industry Award at this year's Furniture Show at Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.

Furniture Awards 2016 Cello chair far left

While the design did not win, two of the chairs  have been attracting plenty of attention on the Birmingham City University stand at the Furniture Show. Their upholstery is designed by third year textile students from the University.

Richard Snell (left) and David Rowe on the Trends stand with HF Contracts Cello chair

The company,  HF Contracts, is an old friend of  Interiors & Lifestyle Futures, while Richard and David taught design at Birmingham City University as well as conducting research into postural seating among other interests. Interiors & Lifestyle Futures provided funding for the collaboration as well as advice, contract management and other support.

If you are visiting the show on 26 and 27 January, please do visit the stand and check out the chairs as well as other products featuring the skills of up and coming designers from Birmingham City University. (Stand F80, Hall2). 

Please note the Student/Industry awards, presented by global trends company Colourhive and wallpaper company Tektura take place at 2pm on Tuesday 26 January.

For another post about this year's Furniture Show please see here 

HF Contract Cello chairs
Tektura wallpaper 'Play' trend
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Friday, 15 January 2016

Next Maker Monday 25 January

 Maker Monday is back on 25 January for another exciting session - a 3D printing workshop from Charlotte Downs of Cinter Design.

In keeping with  the programme's ethos, Charlotte is both a technologist and creative who focuses on social good and sustainable production in her work.

As well as a short presentation, a 3D printer  will available for a hands-on session working through design and production techniques.

There will be the ever popular beer and pizza as well to fuel inspiration. Participation is free but booking is required here: Maker Monday

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.

Sessions take place at Birmingham Open Media and start at 5.15pm.

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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Furniture commission opportunity - Jewellery Quarter

1000 trades is an independent craft bar due to open in the Jewellery Quarter in March 2016. The owners are keen to commission furniture particularly tables and chairs that celebrates craft in all its forms.

“This is an ideal opportunity for talented designers to showcase their work to a wide audience,” says co-owner John Stapleton

“We’ll credit all work and contact details can be affixed to items .We will of course pay for work but you will appreciate that we are working to a strict budget.”

The bar will seat approximately 50 people in total throughout. It will be split into two levels and food served will focus on casual dining.

Interested designers are welcome to visit the site on Frederick Street to get a feel for the new venue. The photographs below show the space as it currently exists before any redesign work.

Interior of Frederick St venue before redesign

·         The style of chairs may be varied as long as each offers a reasonable degree of comfort. In other words, no church pews.
·         Wood is the preferred material but happy to take other proposals.
·         Tables should be of a suitable height for dining/drinking. Likewise, chairs for sitting at those tables.
·         Re-conditioned furniture is fine. We will not be in a position to afford all commissions from scratch.
·         Everything needs to be quite hard wearing, and treated.

·         Two required to seat 6-8.
·         Several to seat 4 and several to seat 2.
·         Versatility is also desirable (space will have multiple uses).

Basic proposals
·         Brief description (example pics if possible).
·         Approximate dimensions.
·         Proposed fee.
·         Timescales.

For further information or to send proposals please email

Ground floor facing street before redesign
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Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Furniture Show 24 - 27 January, NEC Birmingham

Textile students from Birmingham City University will soon be showcasing their innovative designs again. They will be at the January 2016 Furniture Show  bringing to life two room sets:  'Strata' and 'Play' will feature textiles, ceramics, lighting as well as wall and floor coverings. 

Their designs, in conjunction with West Midlands and other UK companies, reflect trends predicted by international industry experts Global Color Research Mix Publications. 

"We are delighted to have been offered stand space at the January Furniture Show," said Charmaine Stint, programme manager of the Institute For Creative Innovation at Birmingham City University.

"This is the main furniture industry trade event  in the UK - a great platform for our students to present their ideas to a key audience."

“We work with a range of industry partners and collaborators to provide pieces such as a chair which we will upholster using a specific student design. This makes it a more tangible end product for visitors to the show to see how trends can be interpreted into initial concepts and then taken forward into end designs. We also show a range of sample pieces from all of the students’ body of work."

BCU textile student Chloe baker's design for Brinton Carpets

Online registration for the January Furniture Show has already opened and visitors can see the list of exhibitors for 2016 and secure their free badge by visiting

Laraine Janes, co-director of the January Furniture Show added: “This is a great opportunity to see what some of the potential stars of the furniture future have got to say when it comes to home furnishings and interior designs. We are looking forward to seeing what is unveiled at the show.”

BCU textile students work in 2015 'Tropic'

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 or email Gregory Hough:

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

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