Second year Sustainable Product Design students have recently begun a live project with fireside accessory specialists, Bodj. The fair trade company is a division of A.J Wells & Sons Ltd, who manufacture Charnwood wood burning stoves at their factory on the Isle of Wight. The students will consider Bodj’s three established themes of ironware, basketware and recycleware, as the starting point for the development of a new product range for the company.
The Bodj initiative was established to support mini enterprise projects set up by villages in Cambodia. The organisation ensures that the products are manufactured in safe and healthy working conditions and that the workers are paid a fair wage for the products.
The students will develop ideas that offer a practical design solution relating to ‘the fireside’ but may also consider the wider context of this area. A key point of inspiration is the recent Danish trend ‘Hygge’, where happiness and wellbeing are improved through the art of creating intimacy.
The designs will consider the production capabilities of the small manufacturing companies that Bodj use in Cambodia. Materials that can be locally and sustainably sourced will be explored and designs will be developed through physical prototyping and material experimentation.
The students will adopt a human centred design approach to understand user needs and opportunities for improved design solutions and innovation. Bodj’s ‘Fat Lip’ log basket is a great example of good design principles blended with craft manufacturing techniques.
A Skype meeting between company director, Ced Wells, and the students provided a great opportunity for questions and scoping out initial ideas. A trip to A.J Wells & Sons was also organised to see their manufacturing facility at the factory on the Isle of Wight. The trip provided an opportunity for students to pitch their initial design ideas to company directors.