Hartman goes to Birmingham University to find outdoor furniture designers of the future

Hartman UK is collaborating with Birmingham City University to find the next generation of product designers to find new outdoor furniture designers.

The outdoor furniture manufacturer is hoping to develop future talent by launching a competition with students at Birmingham City University to design a range of garden furniture for 2013.

Students in their third year on the Textile Design BA (Hons) course have been tasked with creating a range of outdoor furniture, which should include a table and chairs, lounge set, lounger and bench. Hartman is also looking for a new textile design which can be applied to cushions and parasols. The two overall winners will have their designs manufactured and included in the Hartman 2013 collection.    

Students were invited to Hartman UK’s head office to understand more about the market and what the competition entails.

Sales director Paul Facey said: "Nurturing young designers who not only creatively stand out but who are also commercially savvy is hugely important to the future of our industry. We hope that by launching this competition and strengthening our relationship with Birmingham City University we will be able to help develop the skills and knowledge of the next generation of outdoor furniture designers, building a talent pool for our sector."

Charmaine Stint, enterprise development manager at Birmingham City University, added:

"The student community is an untapped resource in helping businesses innovate and come up with new ideas. This project is a great way to not only offer support and encouragement to young new talent, but also offer an opportunity for companies to embrace new ideas and help develop the business in a very fast changing market.

"Working with Hartman UK is a great experience for our students and provides an insight into how businesses can engage with higher education to drive innovation, highlighting the benefits of industry and university collaboration in which the students, academics and businesses all benefit from each other’s skills and abilities."

As part of the design development, students must consider commerciality and trends as well as material and production restraints such as shipping container sizes and durability. The product range should be suitable for manufacture in extruded, cast or pressed aluminium, or resin weave.  

The winning designs will be showcased as part of the Hartman 2013 collection at the outdoor living exhibition, Solex in July 2012.

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