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Posted 21.02.18

Nature & modern living: Innovative student designs for British Ceramic Tile

By Sarah Packer

Students present their work to BCT's Head of Design and Product Claire O'Brien.

Our BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern second years recently took part in a live client brief with British Ceramic Tile.

British Ceramic Tile (BCT) is the largest manufacturer of ceramic and glass tiles in the UK. The manufacturer, which has worked with the college since 2016, set a unique client brief for our students. The winning designs were inspired by nature in the modern space, and by research carried out by students during a recent trip to Heimtextil, Frankfurt. 

“I found designing a white tile a real challenge as I had to explore textures, contrasts and shading in depth, pushing the boundaries of the brief in order to make my ideas stand out.” — Emma Corner

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. 

A valuable opportunity to develop practical skills and approach a real-life work situation, the students were tasked with designing either a white or stone tile. 

At the end of the project, students presented their final designs and mood boards to the British Ceramic Tile team, including designer Luka Webb.

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.

Emma Corner was awarded first prize for ‘The Hexpot’, inspired by trends she witnessed at the college trip to Heimtextil in Frankfurt last month. Taking elements of the patterns found in plants, pots, roots and weave, Emma juxtaposed them with contrasts of gloss and matt, concrete and smooth finishes.

Winner Emma Corner with her design concepts.

Emma explained her process: “My final tile was designed by folding Tyvek and Vilene to create a tile/plant holder. It is designed to be purchased separately and added at random to the set. The customer can choose to insert say an air plant or faux greenery into it bringing the outside in and creating a living wall, ideal for a small space city dweller.”

“I'm excited about being part of this collaboration as it's something fresh and exciting that I can work towards. British Ceramic Tile has opened up new pathways I can explore and also gain new experiences within my practice.” — Abi Craig

Second place was awarded to Abigail Craig, who created a contemporary design inspired by Andy Goldsworthy, an artist known for his stone sculptures and natural patterns. Her research resulted in a tile set that combined marbling and terracotta with a neutral colour palette, perfect as a statement interior piece.

Runner-up Abi Craig with her nature inspired designs.

Claire was so impressed by our student's designs that in addition to the winners, she also bought a design from student Chloe Britten.

“It was a pleasure to set the brief and judge the presented projects with the second year students again this year. There was an incredibly diverse approach to the project and it was great to see so much freedom of thought and individuality.

“Having worked with Plymouth College of Art for a few years now, it is encouraging to see that not only is the standard of the work improving, but the overall presentation skills on the backstory and creative journey are more polished, as the college impresses the need for students to understand and embrace the commercial world at the earliest opportunities.”

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Interested in creative study but haven’t found the right course for you? There’s still time to apply to us through UCAS - find out more.

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