Robin Levien RDI and RSA Academy, Tipton

Product Designer Robin Levien adopted a game show approach when he set a design brief to two teams of six students at the RSA Academy. His project ‘Design, Make & Communicate’ was launched live on stage in the school hall in front of a packed audience of students, tutors, and parents.

Each team, a group of engineers and artists respectively, was challenged to design, model and draw a trophy for an around the world boat race. Their tasks were to elect a team leader, come up with a team name, brainstorm and sketch ideas, agree on a simple design concept, make a model using only the materials provided of maximum dimension 30cm, write the name of their team on the model, and then make a drawing from which someone could accurately reproduce their model.

When the teams had completed their tasks Robin then asked them to give their finished drawings to their rival team so that they could make a model from it.  The winners would be the team that made the drawing that resulted in the best second model! The winners were the engineers, whose design was relatively simple and easy to draw. The art- driven team had a small boat perilously being tossed on huge waves; it captured the emotions but was difficult to draw.

It was the audience who decided that the engineers had won however as the art team looked so disappointed the Principal agreed that both teams could benefit from the prize! Thanks to Robin, he accommodated both teams in a visit to his London studio, where they witnessed how he designs and makes beautiful tableware and bathrooms for the UK market.

Related project: Royal Designers for Industry (RDI)