Materials for Design Challenge at New Designers 18

Posted on: 28/06/2018

New Designers this year will see 3,000 talented graduates in the design industry showcasing their breakthrough designs.

What’s the Challenge about?

KTN is a partner of MaDE (Materials and Design Exchange), who will be running a Materials for Design Challenge as an activity during New Designers 18, 4th- 6th July. The Challenge involves a selection of 8 young materials scientists from the IOM3 (Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining) and UCL (University College London) responding to a handful of chosen innovative design projects at New Designers 18, from a materials perspective.

What’s MaDE?

MaDE is a partnership between Barron Gould, the Crafts Council, the Institute of Materials, Minerals & Mining, the Institution of Engineering Designers, Knowledge Transfer Network, the Royal College of Art and University College London. The partners have joined forces in encouraging the exchange of knowledge between material scientists and designers.

Key Activities

A selection team from MaDE, consisting of Clare Johnston (Professor and Senior Research Fellow of Textiles, RCA), Anne Toomey (Head of Programmes for Textiles, RCA), Bernie Rickinson (CEO, IOM3), Efi Fragkou (Head of International & Younger Member Activity, IOM3), Alma Daskalaki (Innovation Manager, Crafts Council) and Delina Evans (Knowledge Transfer Manager for Innovation Effectiveness, KTN) will be touring New Designers 18 to select up to 20 designs from the 3,000 graduate exhibits, basing their selection on uniqueness of concepts and application of materials.

The young material scientists will then attend the Thursday Late session held on 5th July and be briefed by Bernie Rickinson and Robert Quarshie (Head of Materials, KTN), engage with the selected graduates and understand the core of their designs and material choices. The next day will be packed with discussions as they collate their insights into a series of emerging themes across concepts and material applications, as well as recommendations for different material types, properties or processes. The material scientists will also benefit from advice and support during this activity, from mentors with various areas of expertise: Ajay Kapadia (KTM in Composites, KTN) Sally Beken (KTM in Polymers, Elastomers and Plastics, KTN), Brian McCarthy (KTM in Advanced Materials For Functional Systems), Su Varma (Incubation Portfolio Manager, NSG Global R&D) and James Burchill (PhD Researcher- Materials Intuition).

Friday 6th July 1-2pm will see the material scientists talk about their reflections on the challenge and alternative materials suggestions.  Also in the line-up of speakers are James Burchill, who will give an introduction to MaDE, the challenge and his work; Clare Johnston, chairing a panel discussion and Su Varma who will be contributing to the panel with his insights as a mentor for the challenge.

The aim

This Challenge sets to demonstrate the importance of interaction between materials and design communities, echoing a key value in MaDE’s partnership. KTN is pleased to be involved as a partner of MaDE, as this is an exemplar of facilitating cross sector collaboration and in this case, amongst our future innovators.


New Designers 18 runs from 27th – 30th June (Part 1) and 4th-7th July (Part 2) at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London. Book your tickets to the show here.

If you’re interested in hearing the material scientists share the outcomes of the Materials for Design Challenge, register here.

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