My Journey to Winning an Iconic Design Award – German Design Council

MA Product and Furniture Design student Manthan Modh received an international design award by the German Design Council for his project, Swift Blinder. Manthan collected his award in Munich at the BMW headquarters. The project was created through Co.LAB (Collaborative Laboratory), an award-winning design and research initiative within the Birmingham School of Architecture & Design.

What is your project?

Swift Blinder is a modular nesting box designed to fit seamlessly into new and existing buildings. This concept is derived from sunblind curtains, which make this design a multifunctional product. This Swift nest will be more functional and attractive as a part of the building. This design will allow individuals to adapt new architectural facade elements for placement on institutional, commercial, and residential buildings. 

The project brief was to design a “Swift Nest Box”. Swifts are dramatically becoming extinct due to their urbanisation. I wanted to design a swift nest that could be easily adapted and engages a community with swift protection. Swift birds are also facing harsh climate issues, coming from an extremely hot climate to much colder, and if they are unable to find shelter then it is very difficult for them to survive in urban areas. There is a big scope for design, affordability, and adaptability which will allow for creating awareness of swift conservation through putting a swift nest on commercialised buildings.

How did you create the Swift Blinder?    

The journey of designing Swift nest start with finding the cause of existing issues of nests and solving the problem with the design. The core concept of designing a Swift nest is derived from the Sun blinders and building facade element louvres. However, the concept came from the observation of surrounding buildings which used louvres.

This design will allow individuals to adapt to new architectural facade elements as louvres (blinders) which can be placed in institutional, commercial, and residential buildings. People can install this nest under the roof (eaves). Swift blinds are made from terracotta and wood, 100 per cent sustainable materials. Swift blinders will mimic natural swift tree caves which will also help to maintain a consistent temperature. In addition, this versatile design will also attract individuals to adopt nests for spreading awareness to conserve swifts. Additionally, Swift Blinder encourages wildlife within urban areas.

How do you feel about winning the international design award?

To be honoured by my peers was incredibly gratifying and I am so thankful to my colleagues for giving me design feedback and support for this recognition. I am also grateful to the talented and dedicated members of staff I work with every day at the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design. To be recognized with an award that bears the German Design Council name is imperative to proceeding my career in the product design industry.

For me, it's not about individual accomplishments or awards, it's about how I can contribute to the world through better products.

What have you learnt from your time on the MA Product and Furniture Design course?

While studying MA Product and Furniture Design, I not only learnt design skills but also several other things, such as developing function design, the importance of sustainability, and user-oriented design.

Co.LAB was a very important project for me to learn quick design development, time management, and understand the client's requirements. Ultimately, product design is not just for people but also equally important for wildlife.

Without a doubt, receiving an award is a very important step for me and my career since this gives me recognition and will help me acquire a job in the future. Now I would like to work on further design development and testing and evaluation so that this product can hit the market as soon as possible.   

Special thanks to my tutors: Nuno, Edward, Dean, Wayne, Evy, Emma, Marlon, Inderpal and Birmingham City University for your support, shared knowledge, guidance, and direction throughout this journey. 

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