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Posted 07.03.17

Students impress British Ceramic Tile design team with innovative projects

By Sarah Packer

Left to right: Winning students Hannah Seward and Claire Nannelli with their designs.

British Ceramic Tile (BCT), the largest manufacturer of ceramic and glass tiles in the UK, has once again partnered with the college working with our talented students on a unique client brief.

BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern students were invited to test their creativity and work on a live brief alongside BCT’s internal design team and head of design, Claire O’Brien.

“This has been such a good opportunity to practice a live client brief in a safe environment. I will definitely be taking what I learnt from this project into future ones.” — Ella Foster, student.

A valuable opportunity to develop practical skills and approach a real-life work situation, the students were provided with a creative brief looking at how popular lifestyle and colour trends can be adapted for surface design.

Students present to the British Ceramic Tile design team.

Ideas and mood boards were created over a period of two months with the final artwork presented to BCT for feedback. Two students were given a cash prize as a reward for their ideas and hard work, and a selection of the work will be translated into tile designs for the retail market.

Claire Nannelli was awarded first prize for ‘Industrial Seaside’, inspired by the natural colour palette and the shapes of stones and mussels on the coast, paired with the exploration of the textural, rustic buildings of the local area.

Claire explained her process: “The final designs came about after exploring and experimenting with each idea in isolation and then incorporating aspects of each together to create a final series of designs.”

Student Claire Nannelli's presentation of work to British Ceramic Tile was influenced by the surrounding areas coastline and buildings.

Second place was awarded to Hannah Seward with ‘Breath of Fresh Air’, which touched on nature, bringing the outside in through soft textures and calming effects.

BCT’s head of design, Claire O’Brien, was so impressed with some of the work our students presented, in particular from Claire Nannelli and Ella Foster, they bought the work with plans to adapt the designs and create new commercially viable product ranges.

“I’ve learnt about ceramic materials, processes and finishes and my understanding of pattern and scale has broadened. My confidence has also grown since successfully presenting my concept and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity. — Hannah Seward, student

“Often the working world is far away from a student world but I think that having an understanding of a commercial environment is of paramount importance during the student journey,” said Claire O’Brien. Even the use of language, the thought process from self to customer requirement can be part of the learning and Plymouth College of Art understand this as an important part of an extended education.

“We saw a wide variety of concepts from the students, all of which were approached in a professional manner. The winners were well deserved and we were struck by one of the designs to such an extent that we will develop it for our product portfolio.”

British Ceramic Tile will be carrying on its partnership with us and we’re currently arranging for a selection of students to visit the design studio this Summer.