Sebi Gherghina of BA Product Design, tutored by the Product Design team, and Simon Feather of March Architecture, tutored by Simon Warren, were selected for the shortlist of the Branching Out brief in the prestigious annual awards.
The Branching Out brief is one of the nine competition briefs set by the RSA in this year’s awards and is supported by Woodland Heritage. It asks the question ‘How might we harness broad-leaved woodlands and their resources to increase their local economic, social and environmental value?’
Sebi Gherghina’s response to the brief was to investigate how we can encourage people to take a break from their electronic devices and explore nearby forests. Sebi designed a wooden earphones case, reminiscent of a seed pod, made from wood thinnings which are often left on the forest floor after thinning and pruning has taken place. The product encourages people to put their earphones away and enjoy the sounds of the forest.
Sebi says: “When I was little, I would go hiking with my parents and always bring an mp3 player which would blast songs in my ears. My parents would tell me to enjoy the time with them. Why would I want to listen to the creaks in the woods or my father’s old stories? I was ignorant to why they would tell me to stop. Now, spending time in nature is a luxury I cannot afford more than a few times a year.”
Simon Feather’s project ‘Re-foresting’ is a set of nine productive model villages located along the M62, and within the ‘Northern Forest’. Each village uses the environmental conditions associated with their unique location to grow a different selection of tree species. The harvested materials are used to manufacture the villages’ future timber buildings. The project aims to promote the use of locally grown timber and revitalise the UK's timber industry.’
"My project has emerged out of the climate crisis. Trees are part of this solution and in many ways. Decisions on the trees we plant today will ensure that timber is put to its most effective use to offset the climate crisis and sustainable lifestyles.”
We wish them both the best of luck for their interviews with the panel in the final stage of the judging process.