Light-up prayer mat and new saddle concept backed by Design Council

The Design Council has named eight finalists in its £300k Spark programme, which aims to develop “innovative” new UK products.

The Design Council has named eight finalist designs in its Spark programme, which aims to promote “brilliant product ideas” from UK designers.

Each of the eight finalists will receive a share of £150,000 in investment cash, as well as mentoring throughout a 20-week period from experts including designers at SeymourPowell, Map and Kinneir Dufort.

The finalists were chosen from 330 entries. The Design Council said it was looking for “product prototypes or ideas that demonstrated market need, business viability and the technical feasibility to be developed within 20 weeks.”

At the end of the 20-week development period, each of the finalist design teams will pitch for one of three further investments of £50,000.

The Design Council says the aim is for the not-for-profit Spark initiative to become self-supporting, with 5 per cent of revenue from product sales being used to replenish the fund and support future projects.

The finalist projects are:


Horse saddle, by Trace Ward

Horse back 3D

Trace Ward has a designed a new horse saddle that the Design Council claims is the first radically new design for 2,000 years.

The saddle has been designed for premium endurance and optimal load distribution. It reduces pressure under the saddle, improving the horse’s comfort and performance.

Ward is co-founder and CEO of Ergon Equine and trained horses for the Warner Brother’s film The Last Samurai.

Desktop factories, by Mayku


Benjamin Redford, founder of Mayku, creates desktop making tools that aim to “disrupt global manufacturing infrastructure”.

Mayku’s first two products are FormBox – a compact vacuum former that can be used to make anything from jelly moulds to professional-grade product packaging – and RotoBox, a rotational moulding machine that makes hollow objects such as eggs, rubber ducks and piggy banks.

Illuminating prayer mat, by Soner Ozenc

Soner Ozenc and his team have invented El Sajjadah – a prayer mat that lights up when facing Makkah.

Ozenc says: “The grant will help us financially to progress with our ‘design to manufacture’ process and the mentors will literally hold our hands to safely and confidently go through this process.”

Aerbuddies, by Bill and Paul Bradley

Father and son pilot and aircraft engineer team, Bill and Paul Bradley have developed Aerbuddies following a new aeromedical discovery they unearthed during some commissioned scientific research.

Aerbuddies is a passenger comfort product that alleviates the symptoms of ear pain experienced by some passengers during flights on commercial passenger aircraft, the cause of which is directly related to the pressurisation systems on board.

Connected doorbell, by ONN


Design studio ONN is developing a connected doorbell, which it says will be the first for an entire range of connected products.

Multidisciplinary consultancy ONN has been founded by Avril O’Neil and John Nussey.

RipSeam Fastener, by Sid Edwards

Screen Shot 2015-07-10 at 14.40.10

The RipSeam Fastener is billed as an alternative fastener for textiles, home furnishings and other uses. It aims to address problems associated with traditional fastening methods, such as issues with grip.

Its designer Sid Edwards says: “It’s a magnificent achievement to have gained formal recognition of the merits of my invention. It has huge potential to positively impact on the lives of people in Britain and throughout the world.”

Drop, by Ayca Dundar


Royal College of Art graduate Ayca Dundar has created Drop, a pop-up umbrella that aims to rethink the design of traditional umbrellas.

Drop’s design comprises only six parts and has a supple structure, so it flexes during strong winds. It also closes into a compact flat disk for ease of transport.

Grow, by Adam Jackson

Adam Jackson is founder of Grow Innovations. He has invented a conical- shaped corkscrew device called Grow, which aims to make turning and mixing compost a much easier task.

Discover more:

• £300k fund launched to find “innovative” new UK product designs

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