DIP Award tackling the ‘Plastic Stigma’ and commending innovative, young designers

July 16th, 2018

This year, Innovate again sponsored the Design Innovation in Plastics award. This award was set up to encourage plastics design innovation and best practice in future product designers. Around 280 students from 20 universities register for the competition each year.

Other main sponsors included:

The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, existing to promote all aspects of the fields of materials, minerals and mining.

The Worshipful Company of Horners. One of the oldest of the city of London Guild Companies, becoming associated with the plastics industry after the decline of the horners craft, in 1943.

Covestro. The world leading supplier of high-tech polymer materials, whose products and solutions are used in many areas of modern life.

There was also a guest speaker, Rob law MBE, founder and CEO of Trunki, the award winning kid’s ride on suitcase company and other travel products. The audience were enthused at hearing about his journey from being turned down on Dragon’s Den to turning over millions every year from his plastic travel companion children can’t be without.

Plastic has been getting a lot of bad press, especially within the last few months. DIP reminds us that plastic is still a great resource for design, creates products with longevity and has many different uses. The issue surrounding plastic at the moment is that it is being used in everyday disposable items, that cannot be recycled. DIP and its sponsors focus on creating products that last. It recognises and promotes that plastic should be used and enjoyed, and consideration is given to how it can be recycled. Plastic products designed and produced responsibly can be extremely beneficial both environmentally and financially.

The competition brief: Branching Out – Design For Garden Innovation, challenged the students to design an innovative garden related product, primarily from plastics, that will better connect people with nature, enhancing the pleasure of gardening or leisure activities within the garden, or by helping to sooth mind and body after a long and stressful day.

Finalists, sponsors and guest speaker Rob Law MBE, (left) founder and CEO of Trunki

There was 6 finalists, all with great products.

Syeda Fatima Abedi Manji, De Montfort University: Gingko – a planter for urban spaces designed specifically with children in mind to help their development and promote the joy of gardening.

Lewis Brown, Teesside University: Dynamic Grip – an ergonomic garden multi-tool targeting gardeners with arthritis.

Zeina Mofti, Brunel University: G Cycle – a product which combines modern indoor gardening with home aquariums to enhance wellbeing, by providing a calm and relaxing environment.

William Oughton, Brunel University: Bulb Garden Furniture – a set of garden accessories designed to enhance and add function to unattractive fencing.

Alex Roquero, Brunel University: Hook – a portable balcony shelf which hooks to any kind of railing, thereby optimising space in reduced areas.

Olivia Alexander, De Montfort University: Buzz – A bee friendly planter that administers an anti-mite chemical directly to the bees.

Olivia, in her final year of Product Design, took 3rd place – the Innovate award. She wins a cash prize of £250 and a placement with Innovate. She also won a special prize, the Covestro Award, chosen by judges from Covestro, meaning she will take a trip to Germany to visit that company, alongside the competition winner.

Olivia with ‘Buzz’

Olivia with Alastair and Sponsors

Chairman of judges, Richard Brown, said: “The judges were fascinated by the research Olivia undertook with the beekeeping community to gain feedback on her idea, and we also liked the other details she had considered, such as the recyclable packaging for point of sale, and the development cycle she had followed to determine product viability.”


The overall winner was Alex Roquero with his portable balcony shelf ‘Hook’. Richard Brown, Chairman of judges, said: “It was evident that this product could become a marketable item, as living spaces become smaller, and more ‘Juliet’ balconies are integrated into new builds, especially in Europe’.

Alex wins with ‘Hook’

Alex Roquero wins a trip to Germany to visit Covestro, the global polymers manufacturer, and a placement with competition sponsors, RJG Technology.


Congratulations to all who took part, and we look forward to welcoming Olivia to our Salisbury Studio soon.