Harrogate pupils win Design Ventura title

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Young designers from Harrogate Grammar have been declared the winner of this year’s Design Ventura competition.

Their winning product concept - Aqua Hook that can be attached to a bag to carry a bottle of water - was announced by broadcaster Naomi Cleaver at an exhbition and VIP reception at the Design Museum in Kensington last week.

Mr Dave Allen, Product Design teacher at Harrogate Grammar School praised the team - Year 10 pupils Oliver Bean, Harris Calvert, Seb Cassidy, Ben Jackson and Jonty Trott.

“Throughout the process, Ben, Harris, Jonty, Seb and Oli have shown great professionalism,” said Mr Allen.

“They took the brief and studied it, they thought of a problem they wanted to solve and there evolved the concept so the Aqua Hook is entirely their own work.

“This work ethic carried through in producing the product and to the presentation required for the judges which was just superb.”

The Harrogate team was shortlisted from 240 schools nationally to join ten finalists in impressing in the theme Change.

Judge Sebastian Conran presented the winners award and said it was the most commercial product he had seen in the several years of the competition.

Oli explained hwo they came up with Aqua Hook: “We began by thinking about how to improve the design of water bottles and drinks cans available in school, which eventually led to the idea of attaching a hook to a school bag.

“Also, we noticed how many people had water bottles leaking in their schools bags over their books and iPads, so we also thought about how to solve that problem.”

Speaking about being declared winners they stated: “It’s absolutely incredible, we just can’t believe it especially when 10,000 students entered from 400 schools, and we were chosen by a panel of internationally famous judges.

“Having the aqua hook manufactured and sold in the Design Museum shop is just a brilliant prize.”

Oli, Harris, Seb, Ben and Jonty will now go on to work with professional designers where they will oversee and direct all aspects of the production of their winning concept including packaging, pricing and promotion for it to be launched in June and go on sale exclusively in the renowned Design Museum shop, alongside the latest design conscious products.

All proceeds from sales will go to the charity MacMillan Cancer Support.

They will also attend next year’s awards evening which they are very much looking forward to.

A competition spokesman said: “In line with Government’s recent initiatives which encourage enterprise skills, Design Ventura helps to develop young people’s confidence and employability skills in a practical context, preparing them for life outside the classroom.”

The project supports innovative design education and nurtures future generations of creative professionals, one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors.

Judges also included Alice Black, Co-Director of the Design Museum; Asif Khan, founder Asif Khan, London-based architecture practice; Chris Ruse, former Director in Capital Markets & Treasury Solutions at Deutsche Bank

and Michael Skapinker, Financial Times Associate Editor.