Students commended by environmental charity Hubbub from their Design By Nature competition

How can design change the world? This year environmental charity Hubbub launched Design by Nature, a competition open to university students across the UK, looking to celebrate innovative ideas that tackle tough environmental issues.

As the need to Build Back Better from the Covid-19 pandemic becomes ever clearer, the environmental charity Hubbub has commended seven entries from up and coming designers, including three from Loughborough University students, from their Design By Nature competition. Design By Nature called on university students across the UK to design innovative solutions to the tough environmental challenges of fast fashion, water waste and air pollution by asking - how can design change the world?

The living briefs, based on continually changing environmental issues which affect our day-to-day lives, were:

Worried about water waste?
Fed up with fast fashion?
Exhausted with air polution?

Michelle Robb, Creative Partner at Hubbub, said:

“At Hubbub, we believe insight-led, experimental and collaborative design should be at the heart of solving environmental issues. We know new forms of design and different solutions are needed to address the scale of the environmental challenge we face. Across the UK there is a massive pool of upcoming designers with the creativity to help solve these tough issues. We’ve been so impressed by the work entered into the Design By Nature competition by upcoming designers across UK universities this year. The student’s innovative, unique approaches to tackling the three live briefs have inspired the Hubbub team. It’s been brilliant to collaborate with Universities like Loughborough and see how their students have applied the skills gained on their courses when responding to these tough environmental issues. We look forward to sharing new live briefs and collaborating with more upcoming designers in the future.”

The following students and their ideas were highly commended by the judges:

Betsy Cousins, BSc Product Design and Technology - Optiair

Awarded 'Creative Innovator' - Those who’ve harnessed their business brain to come up with the most innovative, practical solutions.

OptiAir’s focus is to protect outdoor workers from air pollution. It aims to replace one-time use respirators which are both inefficient and bad for the environment, as they are single use products; manufactured to be disposed of. OptiAir is a hardhat with a built-in respirator, a hardhat is an essential part of construction workers PPE, so having the duel fan respirator built in will ensure the user uses the system; protecting their health. 

OptiAir solution to reducing your air pollution illustrations

Sarah Everett, BSc Product Design and Technology - Scrub

Awarded 'Wild Card' - Those who’ve surprised us with a disruptive, unconventional approach to tackling the issues. 

Scrub is a kitchen product for student households. The system is designed to use the water leftover from cooking vegetables, to create liquid hand soaps, hand creams, washing up liquid or surface cleaner. Using Scrub reduces the user's water footprint by removing the need to buy ready made products from the cosmetics and toiletries industry; an industry which uses large amounts of water in the manufacture of these products. There is also a secondary benefit of reducing the amount of plastic thrown away, due to use of these single use products.

Sarah was also interviewed by BBC Radio Leicester where she discussed more about her project Scrub. You can listen again here (from 1:46:45).

Illustration of Sarah Everett's Scrub product

Langyuan Ma, MSc Integrated Industrial Design - Mini Kitchen Aquarium

Awarded 'Master Storyteller' - Those who’ve used the power visual communication and/or written language to inspire action.

This is an aquarium like no other! This is a digital kitchen aquarium to represent the recommended value of daily water consumption (which can be changed according to the number of people in the household), it's represented by an electronic screen. There are simplified marine lives in the aquarium to represent the household's water usage. If the water consumption on the day exceeds the specified value, it will show that the water is drawn from the aquarium, causing marine organisms to lose their water resources, and it will cause the organisms to slowly become extinct. But saving water will make the aquarium more and more prosperous.

an illustration of the mini kitchen aquarium on a wall next to the sink

Out of the 10 shortlisted entries, 5 of those were also Loughborough University MA User Experience Design students:

Minji Kim - Longkit 
Tanya Beri - Caiir 
Lily McMeekin - Inverse 
Kent Godfrey - Digital Doubles 
Thomas Cousin - Commutair 

Debra Lilley, Senior Lecturer in Design at Loughborough University, said:

“Loughborough University School of Design and Creative Arts were delighted to partner with Hubbub on the Design by Nature initiative. Our masters and undergraduate students in industrial, sustainable and user experience design engaged wholeheartedly with the challenging Hubbub briefs, producing creative, meaningful and evidence-based design solutions. We are extremely proud of Betsy, Langyuan and Sarah, this year’s Loughborough winners, and look forward to continuing to work with Hubbub.”