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Students given taste of industry experience by long-term university supporter.
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Students given taste of industry experience by long-term university supporter.

written by Richard Allen | 22 March 2018
Leeds-based property developer Rushbond plc have given a valuable taste of working in the design industry to first-year BA (Hons) Product Design students at Leeds Beckett University.
Rushbond Corn Exchange

Rushbond, who have previously supported scholarships at the university, set the students the challenge of designing furniture for the newly reconfigured ground floor of the iconic Leeds Corn Exchange which they took over in March last year.

The building will be undergoing a series of improvements over the coming months with the lower ground floor being transformed into an independent food and drinks space with a new Kitchen Yard which will also host events and exhibitions.

Robin Brinkworth, Senior Lecturer of Design for Manufacture, said: “Our students have truly embraced the fast pace of this four-week project and developed fun, creative and innovative concepts for the space.

“This project has given them a valuable insight into working in the design industry and designing furniture in response to a brief set by a real client and provided a unique and exciting opportunity to be part of Rushbond’s sensitive development of this wonderful and historic building.

“Our students had to consider the truly unique environment of the Corn Exchange and celebrate the art of food and community. It was essential that their ideas should accommodate the flexible nature of the Kitchen Yard, so they needed to be easily reconfigurable and accommodate approximately 100 covers.”

All the designs produced by the students needed to be robust, practical, suitable for all ages and had to take inspiration from the building’s 155 year history. The designs will be exhibited in a dedicated space in the Corn Exchange during March and April and the most successful design will be taken into production for installation later this year. The project also constitutes part of the students’ final assessment.

Georgina Maud, Creative Assistant at Rushbond, says: “The Corn Exchange has a fascinating heritage and we feel very proud to be heralding a new era within these beautifully curved walls and attract more and more people to meet, eat and shop here.

“We’re big believers in the importance and power of design, and were keen to tap into the talent of the future by joining forces with the University’s product design students. Some of the results have been very innovative and indeed inspirational.”
“We’re big believers in the importance and power of design, and were keen to tap into the talent of the future by joining forces with the University’s product design students. Some of the results have been very innovative and indeed inspirational.”

Robin added: “Our links with alumni and partners in the city has helped us to connect the university with several similar city centre projects. This allows our students to engage creatively with the City’s heritage and hopefully retain our talented young designers here in Leeds.”

The exhibition of student work continues throughout March until Monday 23 April in the Corn Exchange.