Guest speakers at Rycotewood

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Sam Bradley

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lately at Rycotewood Furniture Centre we have received a number of visits from industry figures, who have provided a range of experiences. These have been: John Jenkins, who is originally a graduate of Bucks, and the Royal College of Art (School of Furniture); Stephen Phillips, an environmental and product designer in the industrial design department of Arup, the global consulting engineers, and also an alumni of Bucks; and Rod Wales a former Rycotewood and Parnham College student and director of furniture designers Wales & Wales.

www.woodworkersinstitute.com

John Jenkins has a vast and broad experience and extensive knowledge of design, product development, international consultancy and retail buying, both as the Senior Furniture Buyer at Heal"s and latterly as their Design Manager. John has developed an astute awareness of what "commercial" design really means and gave two talks. The first was on, "Buying Contemporary Design for Retailing and The Role of The Buyer", and the second was about "Things designed during my time at Heal"s...". It was truly a privilege to hear what he had to say about cutting down production costs, how to deal with retailers, to gain an insight to his "10 commandments", and to hear that even as a buyer he does look at and consider emerging work from students in the UK.

Stephen Philips" presentation illustrated his career path, from establishing his own design consultancy, to becoming design director for Deyon Office Furniture to his current role working on exciting projects for Arup and their partners. He highlighted the importance of getting your work seen and how he took advantage of links with German manufacturers early in his career to take some of his ideas into production. His most recent work is with global brands such as Louis Vuitton and exciting environmental projects like the pocket habitat. Here is more details about that: link

Rod Wales offered more of an interactive discussion with students about how to survive as a designer-maker, using his career experiences to advise on the pitfalls, the importance of promoting yourself, how to deal with the clients, the difficulties of dealing with retailers, and how to develop your own design language that makes you recognisable and sought after.

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