Thomas Kelly from Kilteel, Co. Kildare, a first-year art and design student at the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) has been named runner-up of the Kingspan ‘Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose’ design competition.
A sustainable design challenge, created and sponsored by Kingspan Water & Energy, offered NCAD students the opportunity to showcase their talents in designing and creating objects using second life material. The material provided was in powder form and recycled from reclaimed Kingspan oil tanks and other Kingspan products, showcasing the importance of the circularity of plastic use.
Thomas used the material to make his ‘Passive Pals’, a line of distraction toys that are aimed to be given out as an incentive for children to get their Covid-19 vaccine. The toys would be provided to children while they are being given the injection to distract them using their bright colours and mechanisms built into their belly.
Thomas comments; “The Covid-19 pandemic is hard on all of us, so the focus of my project is to try and make the recovery from Covid-19 easier for at least one group of people. I designed the ‘Passive Pals’ as a way to distract children in order to make the process of administering the Covid vaccine easier for both the doctor and the child.
“Using recyclable polyethylene allows the possibility for ‘Passive Pals’ to be 3d printed on a mass production scale, for a small price, meaning the child could take one home from the vaccination appointment. This could encourage more children to want their vaccination.”
Thomas Jefferson, Head of Marketing, Energy Management at Kingspan, says: “We are thrilled to be partnering with NCAD for the second year on this innovative and challenging project that addresses some of the environmental and sustainability issues that we all need to work harder to address.
“At Kingspan, we passionately believe that we must change the way we manufacture, design and build for a better future. Working with the creatives of the future, we wanted to challenge the students to design and create a project using recycled material from some of our divisions’ materials, including domestic oil tanks, bottle banks and sewage treatment plants, bringing a second life to the material.
"As part of the ‘Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose’ initiative, encouraging the ongoing use of sustainable design, Kingspan donated a lazer cutter to the college. The final creations were brought to life by the new technology, creating an array of impressive final pieces, varying from desktop storage stations to customizable jewellery."
Commenting on the partnership with Kingspan, Tara Whelan, Interaction Design Lecturer at NCAD adds: “This creative partnership with Kingspan has given our students the opportunity to work on a really inventive and educational project, reinforcing the importance of using reclaimed materials and of their versatility.
“The students were given the choice of five different materials to work with, all of which were products manufactured by Kingspan, but that had been recycled and ground back down to powder form. I’m very proud of the range and quality of submissions from our students, especially as they were working from home without the resources that are available within the art and design studio. It’s been a challenging semester but for our students to produce such a high calibre of work is really impressive and demonstrates how hard they have worked, despite the challenge of studying from home.”
The students’ designs and creations were showcased via a virtual judging event and judged by Pat Kane, founder of reuzi; Derek McGarry, Head of Innovation and Engagement at NCAD and Thomas Jefferson from Kingspan Water & Energy Ltd.
Commenting on the quality of entries and the winning project, ecopreneur and founder of reuzi, Pat Kane says: “Reducing plastic consumption is the way forward, but if plastic is already in circulation, then we must look at ways to reuse it. As an advocate of sustainability, I was particularly interested in getting involved in this project that challenged the students to get creative, think outside of the box and create usable objects using material that is already out there.
“The students' projects are the perfect example of how diverse materials can be. From pieces of jewellery and customizable wearable art to desktop storage systems, this was an incredibly innovative brief that both educates students and encourages new thinking.”
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