February 10, 2010, 5:22 pm

Following its launch in December, The Future Perfect Company’s ‘Designing for the Future’ competition, with the University of Brighton, reached its second stage yesterday with a workshop to encourage entrants to develop a well informed product for older people which facilitates deeper and more meaningful relationships with users.

Based on ‘Subject Object Relationship’ theory, the workshop asks students to consider user centred interactions and emotional connections between people and things. Why, for example, is it that some objects are cherished and adored for decades, whilst others are simply cast aside like spent cigarettes, just months after purchase? What characterises a successful relationship and are these emotionally durable characteristics designable? How can objects be designed so they are capable of supporting deeper and less fleeting relationships with their users?

Comments Philippa Aldrich, founder of The Future Perfect Company: “The purpose of this workshop was to encourage students to consider how we can design better, more meaningful and fulfilling products – something I have discovered as being hugely important to older people.”

The workshop was led by Nick Gant, principal lecturer at University of Brighton, Marc Owens, lead tutor at University of Brighton, Philippa Aldrich and Gretel Jones, consumer markets policy adviser at Age Concern and Help the Aged.

The ‘Designing for the Future’ competition invites students to think about the challenges that an ageing population presents and design a new product, or create a new design, which addresses one or more of these challenges. It is open to staff and students of the Faculty of Arts and the School of Environment and Technology at the University of Brighton until 3rd May 2010 and will be judged by Anne Boddington, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Architecture at the University of Brighton, Philippa Aldrich, founder of The Future Perfect Company, Gretel Jones, consumer markets policy adviser at Age Concern and Help the Aged and BBC Two’s Design For Life finalist, Mike Cloke.

Results will be announced in June 2010 and the winner will receive £1,000 courtesy of The Future Perfect Company.


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