British Council backs a UK/Polish collaboration

Product designers and students in the UK and Poland are collaborating on a major new venture which has won backing from the British Council.

Aimed at identifying opportunities and developing real products for both UK and Polish markets, the Design for a New Europe initiative is being co ordinated by Leeds Metropolitan University tutor Steve Hoffman.

Polish product design consultancies Mimo and Studio Program have already joined the project, as has UK designer Lyndon Anderson, who runs Blue. Fitch is also expected to take part, along with students from LMU’s product design degree course and the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts.

“The aim is to promote design and the global nature of design. Europe presents us with a global yet indigenous culture,” says Hoffman. He adds that the initiative is seen as a “flagship exercise” for the British Council in its promotion of British design. The initiative may be extended to other such projects.

Designers and students from each country will liaise to research and develop products for export in two key areas – youth culture and public spaces. Local businesses are being encouraged to take part, and in addition to seminars and events, an exhibition displaying the best of the products will be launched next summer to tour both the UK and Poland.

Hoffman says 24 000 has so far been raised for the two-year project, but further sponsorship for the exhibition is needed.

Along with the British Council in Warsaw, backing has been pledged by the Leeds Business School, Leeds & Calderdale Business Links and the Leeds Development Agency.

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