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RCA/Imperial College students bring their ideas to life with the help of KI Award

July 6, 2016

Two students undertaking the joint Royal College of Art (RCA)/Imperial College Innovation Design Engineering double masters course have been presented with KI Awards. Receiving £1,000 each, the students who won the prizes best demonstrated through their final projects, an innovative way to improve future working or learning environments.

Christian Felsner’s ‘Aktor’ is an exploration of deployable structures. The material softens when it is activated with electricity and can be moulded to take on organic forms. An efficient manufacturing process generates minimal waste, the structure can be manipulated to suit numerous functionalities and applications at different scales such as furniture, packaging, disaster relief and healthcare. Christian comments: “The KI award enabled me to make the material technology reality.”

Jonathan Hindle & Christian Felsner

Christina Petersen’s ‘LYS’ proposes a radical concept - that artificial lighting “will be connected to the human rather than to the architecture.” It has been suggested that the proliferation of smart devices and other sources of artificial light are having a harmful effect on human health. Much like exercising control over one’s diet, this ‘LYS’ will empower the user to manage their own light regime. This ‘personal sun’ would gather data and emit variable intensities and wavelengths of artificial light based on the wearer’s circadian rhythm. This is particularly useful for users who do shift work, or operate in poorly-lit conditions.

Christina comments: "The KI award gave me the resources to design and build a prototype that brings together different technologies to envision how we can improve the working spaces of the future."

Jonathan Hindle & Christina Petersen


Jonathan Hindle, Group Managing Director, KI EMEA comments: “The future of the UK furnishings industry is dependent on nurturing skills and innovation. The KI Award gives us an opportunity to directly support talented individuals undertaking a world-leading course that combines the rigorous discipline of engineering with the creative problem solving fundamental to good design. We wish both Christian and Christina all the best and look forward to seeing exciting things from them in the years ahead.”

The KI Award was given to students whose projects could help improve the product development or production process, to create better working or learning environments in the future. The winners will exhibit their works at KI’s London offices during London Design Festival (September 2016), followed by the Young Furniture Makers’ Exhibition (October 2016) at the Furniture Makers’ Hall in the City of London.

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