Reconnecting people with food

11 Jun, 2019
Blender Design and AUT
AUT Third Year Industrial Design students and their projects with Blender Design

Earlier this year, AUT Industrial Design students got the chance to work together with product design agency Blender Design to help people reconnect with food.

Industrial Design students were given a brief to design and develop a smart horticulture product that could help address obstacles faced by small-scale gardeners in growing their own self-sustaining food sources.

Over 12 weeks, the Blender team mentored the students and their projects on a weekly basis, passing on industry knowledge. The students were also given tours of Blender Design and Navico in Albany, to depict what an industry workplace looks like.

Students also learnt about the constraints of designing in the industry, as well as new skills, methodologies and approaches to navigate their own design process.

At the end of the 12 weeks, third year student Levon Hutchinson and his project ‘Playtime Garden’ was highlighted as the standout product from the group.

Levon recognised that young people need to learn where their food comes from, and understand how horticulture works. ‘Playtime Garden’ addressed this opportunity with a thoughtful product kit that allows children to grow Microgreens in a shape of their own design – enhancing the experience with key “kid-ify” features such as a timekeeping scale and a water feed sponge shaped like a cloud.

Industrial Design student Levon Hutchinson
Industrial design student Levon Hutchinson’s ‘Playtime Garden’ was selected as the standout project from the group.

Hutchinson said, “Working with Ollie and Haydn (from Blender Design) has been a great experience as they have pushed me outside of my comfort zone in many aspects and have helped me to constantly further my design knowledge and work ethic.”

Industrial Design lecturer Anke Neinhuis said the collaboration between AUT and Blender Design has yielded very successful design outcomes.

She says, “‘We often involve our students in real world projects, collaborating with industry, where they meet with experts and learn by doing. This creates an exciting learning environment and often yields high quality outcomes.”

To read more about the other student projects and collaboration with Blender Design, click here.

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