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Wednesday 21 May 2014

Olivia Gibbs designs adaptable children's furniture

The winner of an IKEA competition  to design a piece of furniture that ‘grows with the child’ has been unveiled by Southampton Solent University.

IKEA judges struggled to pick an overall winner from the excellent range of furniture designed by the second year BA (Hons) Product Design students but finally selected as  first place was Olivia Gibbs, who impressed them with a chair that doubles up as a working table.

The brief was to design adaptable furniture for a child’s room that could be reconfigured to meet to their needs as they get older.

Olivia’s design used IKEA fabrics and simple fluid shapes to reflect a child’s imagination with the back rest of the chair pivoting and rotating into a working surface area.

Olivia said: “I am actually one of seven children and I have always been interested in children’s furniture. This award means so much and this recognition has encouraged and motivated me to pursue a career in this area.

“A desk and chair are key features for young children and combining the two helps with space and provides what they need for their development. As my mum has just had a baby it will be easy to spend my prize – an IKEA gift-card.”

All the designs had to demonstrate quality, style, function and price in-line with IKEA’s democratic design ethos.

Alex Scoggins, Acting Local Marketing Manager, IKEA said: “This design Olivia has created is just the sort of wonderful everyday product that fits perfectly with what IKEA represents. Olivia also considered safety in the design process while keeping the style clean, simple and slick.”

IKEA’S Alex Scoggins and Olivia Gibbs

The assessment criteria included concept and development, aesthetic sensitivity, research, quality of CAD model, communication, creativity, professionalism and studentship.

Programme group leader for Product Design, Mark Jones said: “The students have all demonstrated creative thinking with innovative solutions to the brief. The course continues to benefit from the support from industry helping students prepare for employment in industry.”