Beeswax packaging and guide dog harness redesign among RSA student awards winners

Packaging made from beeswax and a redesign of the guide dog harness are among this year’s winners in the Royal Society for Arts Student Design Awards.

Beeswax packaging, proposed by Riikka Suominen and Thea Engerdahl
Beeswax packaging, proposed by Riikka Suominen and Thea Engerdahl

The awards are in their 90th year and previous winners include Apple’s Sir Jonathan Ive, Priestmangoode co-founder Paul Priestman and Makerversity founder Tom Tobia.

Students are tasked to enter eight briefs, set by companies including Unilever, RBS and Waitrose.

Each of the briefs has a dedicated prize, including cash prizes and paid work-placements, and winners also receive a year-long RSA fellowship.

This year’s briefs tackled issues including imagining the workplace of tomorrow and reinventing the toilet.

Beeswax packaging, proposed by Riikka Suominen and Thea Engerdahl
Beeswax packaging, proposed by Riikka Suominen and Thea Engerdahl

Winners include Rikka Suominen and Thea Engerdahl, of Kingston University, who proposed a beeswax packaging brand in response to a packaging brief set by Waitrose.

The concept is for packaging made from natural beeswax that is sustainable and easy to produce.

The Gentle Guider harness redesign, by James Langdon
The Gentle Guider harness redesign, by James Langdon

James Langdon, from the University of Nottingham, won the Development Award for his Gentle Guider redesign of the guide dog harness.

This uses 3D scanning and 3D printing to develop a design that aims to better serve the dog and user. The Gentle Guider is being developed in collaboration with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and is patent pending.

Oliver Brunt, from Northumbria University, created the 4SANITATION hygiene pack for use in refugee camps.

Designed in response to the Improve Hygiene, Improve Lives brief set by Unilever, the pack comprises five ultra-condensed long-life soap blocks infused with titanium dioxide.

In Good Hands proposal by Amy Webster and Jade Kent
In Good Hands proposal by Amy Webster and Jade Kent

Amy Webster and Jade Kent, from Kingston University, proposed the In Good Hands forum in response to the Innovation in Giving Brief set by Springetts.

This links beauty and well-being treatment apprentices with socially isolated people.

Nat Hunter, co-director of design at the RSA, says, ‘We want people to know that design isn’t about prettification: design is the cornerstone of society’s fight for positive social and environmental change.

‘The awards demonstrate to young designers how widely they can apply their skills in industry – and how invaluable those skills can be in making change.’

The 2014 RSA Student Design Awards winners in full

Brief: ‘Improve Hygiene, Improve Lives’, sponsored by Unilever

Winner of the Unilever Award

Oliver Brunt, BA Design for Industry, Northumbria University, for Managing Personal Dignity in Times of Need: 4SANITATION is a frugally designed hygiene pack for use in refugee camps. It consists of 5 ultra-condensed, long life soap blocks which are infused with a harmless yet powerful substance called ‘Titanium Dioxide’ which destroys bacteria and odour, and leaves a shield of protection after use.

Winner of the Unilever Award

Lisa Hornsey, BA Design for Industry, Northumbria University, for Raksha – a hybrid sanitary towel: a new brand of low-cost, environmentally friendly sanitary towel made primarily from biodegradable hemp. Rashka is aimed at school girls in rural India and manufactured by local women, who will deliver hygiene and menstruation education alongside the product to improve school attendance and self-esteem as well as hygiene.


Caz Owen, BA Graphic Design, Kingston University, for The Sodis Stripe: SODIS (Solar water DISinfection) is a scientific method that uses solar energy to purify water. This initiative adapts existing Unilever bottle packaging to include SODIS stripes, so that empty bottles can be reused for water purification.

Brief: ‘Tomorrow’s Workplace’, sponsored by RBS

Winners of the Royal Bank of Scotland Award for Best Design Project

James Donnellan and Kevin Glynn for The Hatchery: a methodology manifested through a work environment that gives the worker a greater sense of place and autonomy.

Highly Commended

Stephen Quinn and Pat D’arcy for Attend: a working environment that focuses on people and how to overcome their most valuable and limited resource – attention – with the goal of increasing productivity and ideas.    


Joel August Stein for Hipa: a personal digital health assistant and communication device for staff in hospitals.

Winners of the Royal Bank of Scotland Award of for the Best Business Case

Julie Berdou for WW – A mobile workplace that connects: new spaces for activity-based working situated in transport hubs and other community and urban locations, blurring the lines between work and city.

Innovation in Giving brief, sponsored by Springetts Brand Consultants

Winner of the 12 week paid placement at Springetts

Ashley Pickford, Northumbria University for: Breakfast for Two: volunteering initiative that connects two groups of people in need – isolated older people and children who suffer from food poverty – via a breakfast club that provides a space for children to eat breakfast whilst interacting with elder volunteers.

Winners of the RSA Fellows Award

Amy Webster + Jade Kent, BA Graphic Design, Design for Industry, Kingston University for In Good Hands: a forum that links student apprentices with socially isolated individuals, enabling the students to fulfil their ‘live practice’ training requirements whilst providing social interaction free beauty / well-being treatments for vulnerable people.


Alex Benzie, Graphic Communication with Typography, University of Plymouth for Do Good Dating: dating with a positive social and environmental impact – an online dating service which offers single Londoners the chance to meet people through participating in structured volunteering events.

Water Water Everywhere brief, sponsored by Severn Trent Water

Winner of the Paid Internship at Severn Trent Water

Oliver Liddard for Rethink Sink: a household sink with a tipping bowl that reminds users how much water they use by keeping the water in a plugless bowl and then can be decanted into another bowl for another purpose.

Winners of the Severn Trent Water Award

Paul Moran and Jess Lockhart for Water sculptures in the home: a series of sculptures that work in conjunction with home water meters to let household occupants know how much water they are using in an elegant, simple, natural analogue way.

Highly Commended

Anastasia Bondarenko for EcoMonsters: animated monster characters that help teach children about resource management (water, energy, waste) through an online app, facilitating behaviour change in the real world.

Everyday Well-being brief, in partnership with We Are What We Do

Winners of the RSA Fellows’ Award

Lizzie Reid and Olivia Charlesworth for Good Morning: an alarm clock app targeted at 18-25 year olds where users select songs for friends or strangers to wake them up and aimed at giving them a positive start to the day.

Winner of the Fay Cuthbertson Memorial Award

Katie Cadwallader for No Screen Sunday: a behaviour change and communications campaign that encourages people to eliminate the use of screen-based devices (computers, tablets, mobiles, televisions, etc.) on Sundays and instead engage in offline activities and interact with people face-to-face.

Highly Commended

Russell Daniels-Lake for Lanterns: a smart phone app that allows people to care for a virtual pet where the pet’s health and well-being reacts to the owner’s health and well-being.


Will Mower for Update Your Mood: a real-time clock installation that helps to brighten people’s days by reminding them that other people have bad days too. 

Collaborative Consumption brief, sponsored by the Patricia Tindale Legacy and Priestmangoode

Winner of the Patricia Tindale Legacy Award

Samuel Hoh, Leeds College of Art for Aye Skipper: a logistics service and application that enables businesses to offer clean and safe waste materials/products to their local community, thereby reducing waste and associated disposal costs, and supporting reuse and upcycling of useful materials. 

Winner of the Patricia Tindale Legacy Award

Joshua Dean, Kingston University for Sharing High-Idle Products Through Libraries: a service that enables people to borrow seldom-used products from their local libraries, and in the process, reinvigorates libraries as relevant, valuable public services. 

Winner of the Paid Internship at Priestmangoode

Lee Clarke for The Community Rail: a system for leasing bulky items, for example vacuum cleaners, which is installed in communal areas of limited space accommodation such as single room flats or student halls. The communal rail eliminates unnecessary ownership of bulky equipment, whilst providing a space for social interaction among residents.

The Whole Package brief, sponsored by Waitrose

Winner of the Paid Internship at Waitrose

Alec Machin, University of Nottingham, for Decorate Paints: A solution to short life paint containers: Decorate is a new paint container that reduces both paint and packaging waste– it has a one-way pouring valve that prevents paint from drying out, the paint is stored in a bag made from a metallized PET that maintains its temperature, and the cardboard outer, plastic lid and valve can all be recycled.    

Winner of the Natracare Award

Riikka Suominen and Thea Engerdahl, Kingston University for: Sustainable Packaging: Beeswax:  a food packaging brand made from beeswax; a natural material that is sustainable and simple to produce whilst effectively protecting and preserving food. Production of this packaging will furthermore increase beekeeping and contribute to stabilising bee populations.


Sarah Wilkinson, University of Leeds for: Rejuice: dissolvable tubes of fruit concentrate, initially purchased with a shatterproof, biodegradable plastic fridge bottle and then mixed by the consumer at home. Rejuice provides a low-cost alternative to the 448 million litres of ‘from-concentrate’ fruit juice currently sold in the UK that results in unnecessary packaging, energy and transport costs.


James Forrest, Plymouth University for: Minima: a new ecological brand that produces flat packed domestic appliances which are designed for easy repair by the owner. Consumers assemble the products themselves, developing an understanding of the component parts which empowers them to fix the appliance should it fall into disrepair.


Antti Ojala + Ville Merisalo for Thinking of the Big Picture: a toy packaging concept that consists of two parts: backing and a sleeve. Both are made from a single, recyclable material – but whilst the sleeve holds the structure of the packaging, the backing contains a flat-packed mailing package that can be used to donate second hand toys to charity.

Re-invent the Toilet brief, sponsored by Loughborough University

Winners of the Loughborough University Award

David King for The Community Toilet: a proposal for a community toilet that aims to address challenging attitudes to sanitation and actively engages the community in the process of changing attitudes through creating a sense of ownership. 

Highly Commended

Ke Xu for CURVE: a re-design of the cubicle for squatting toilets for itinerant workers in Beijing that is easier to clean and aims to change behaviour toward more respectful and hygienic use.

In addition, Phillip Jackson will receive an ‘Innovation Award’ of £500 for his commitment and innovation on his project, outside of the scope of the brief.

RSA Student Design Awards Development Award, sponsored by RBS


James Langdon, (Graduate) MEng in Product Design and Manufacturing from the University of Nottingham for The Gentle Guider: a redesign of the existing guide dog harness used by blind users using 3D scanning and 3D printing capabilities to better serve the dog and the user. The Gentle Guider design is patent pending and being developed in collaboration with Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and University of Nottingham Veterinary school.

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