Success at New Designers Awards 2021

Sophie Hickman's Alegra Design

New Designers is the UK's most important exhibition for emerging design talent. This year the New Designers Awards featured two winners from the Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, Sophie Hickman and Dominik Bondicov.


As in 2020, the much-anticipated New Designers exhibition was unable to go ahead, but the awards were presented in a virtual ceremony on 30 June. Viewers heard from keynote speakers, ceramic artist Kate Malone and WeTransfer’s Creative Director Nessim Higson, who shared words of wisdom and encouragement for the graduates of 2021.

Sophie Hickman – Alegra
BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design

Sophie’s entry, Alegra (pictured above) scooped the prize for The Habitat Future Design Award – Furniture, Product, Industrial and Spatial Design at this year’s ceremony. Habitat wanted to see designs that could sit alongside their curated collection of beautiful, sustainable and functional products and furniture.

Alegra is a plywood moulded wall shelf, which utilises colour to enhance people’s mood and mental health. The shelf features interchangeable opaque and transparent coloured acrylic sliding doors which overlap and merge together to create different shades of colour.

The judges commented: “Sophie’s work explored use of tactile organic forms using curved plywood to create her elegant pill shaped shelves. Her use of colour combinations explored how colour can change the mood of the user and how stress and clutter can affect the mood in the home.

We loved how the project engaged us into looking at what the potential could look like across a range of furniture for both Adults and Habitat Kids. Well done Sophie!”

Sophie will receive mentoring from Habitat’s Senior Designers where she’ll gain invaluable industry experience. Her Alegra design will be purchased by Habitat and she will be supported to get her product manufactured.

Dominik Bondicov – The Green Reset Project
BA (Hons) Product and Furniture Design

Dominik Bondicov's The Green Reset Project

Dominik’s entry, The Green Reset Project (pictured right) won the Creative Conscience Environmental Design award at this year’s ceremony.

The competition brief called for designers to create or build on a project that will improve the environment for the better. Entrants were asked to choose an issue that they feel passionate about, identify something that is having a negative impact in our world and look for a solution.

The Green Reset Project aims to bring a new approach to emissions reduction by capturing carbon at the source using moss, a natural non-disruptive carbon storage plant. The project is a product line and service that helps urban areas to reduce their greenhouse emissions while monitoring air quality.

The judges commented: “Dominik’s project was chosen for its potential impact on the environment. It is not enough for us to look at sustainable models. Carbon capture and regenerative practices are vital for our survival as a species. Dominik’s design was well researched, with prototypes and tangible outcomes. Plus a massive shout out for his ability to collaborate with industry experts and businesses within this sector.”

Dominik will receive support from Creative Conscience as well as the chance to network with designers and practitioners working in the creative industry. They will provide advice to assist with the development of Dominik’s design career and aim to help make his project a reality.

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