Zest 4 Leisure, a leading trade supplier of quality timber garden products including furniture, arches, arbours and fencing, held a two-day product design event at Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) as part of its SMART Partnership.
The event involved third year Product Design students being challenged to design a new product for Zest 4 Leisure from one of the following three categories:
• Garden arch or arbour
• Grow your own
• Garden furniture
At the end of day one, the best concepts were selected which then had to be worked up into a cad drawing and a scaled prototype. These were subsequently presented to a panel of judges on day two comprising Gareth Barham, Principal Lecturer Design at CMU and Luke Roberts, New Product Designer, and Wyn Jones, Strategic Development Manager, both from Zest 4 Leisure.
Commenting on the event, Wyn Jones said: “New product development is a key focus for us and this event gave us the opportunity to see the potential of the third-year students. We were all very impressed with the concepts they created and the manner in which they were presented.
“We had three really great winners of the live event: Serena Pearce who won the Award for Creativity; Catrin Hopkins who received the Award for Commercial; and Mathew Griffin who won the Award for Presentation. We look forward to seeing how they progress and hopefully they will consider a product design future with us!”
SMART Partnership is a joint venture between Zest 4 Leisure, CMU and the Welsh Government. It has facilitated the placement of Luke, a Product Design Graduate, in a Welsh company with the objective of developing a new side to the business, to assist with future growth. Luke is supported by a team of lecturers from CMU and has access to the design faculty resources to assist in his work.
Wyn said: “The SMART Partnership has been running for six months and, so far, Luke’s contribution has been fantastic. We are confident that this scheme will enable us to continue to launch a raft of innovative new products to the market in the coming years, generating both increased sales and new jobs.”
Wyn concluded: “The Design Challenge with the CMU students was a great success for the students and our business. The students gained an insight to the challenges of designing in the commercial world with strict criteria, involving market forces, whilst Zest 4 Leisure came away with some great new ideas that may well end up in the marketplace at some future date.”