Meet the graduates: Lancaster University’s Niamh Cartwright

As part of our 2023 graduate season coverage, we’re speaking with a selection of graduates from around the UK about their final projects and future plans.

Niamh Cartwright is a 21-year-old BA Design graduate from Lancaster University. Her final project is Waterior.

Design Week: Can you explain your project and motivation for doing it?

Niamh Cartwright: This is a design futures project called Waterior, which deals with designing for a sustainable future. The concept uses the idea of inflatable architecture to create futuristic homes with an inflatable layered brick design for flood control.

The idea builds on the concept of airbag technology: a flood would trigger a sensor that would send an electric signal through the inflatable layer, and expand the layer to provide a weather-resistant barrier.

I was motivated to design something inspired by Moon Village inflatable architecture that could be a possible solution to climate change-related natural disasters. Design is a powerful tool for creating a sustainable future and many of my projects reflect this.

DW: What was most challenging about the design process?

NC: The most challenging part of this project was conceptualising potential materials for each layer. I wanted to choose materials that were as sustainable as possible, as well as being durable. For example, the top layer is ocean vinyl, which is made from ocean plastics and has the durability of regular vinyl.

DW: Where do you see your design career in the future?

NC: I have so many design interests, from branding to urban design, that I cannot see where my career in design will go. With rapid advancements in technology, my career might not even exist yet.  I can imagine myself ending up in branding and advertisement design, but I am open to many design pathways.

Check out other graduate projects from this year’s cohorts here.

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