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Rene Olivier winner of Mixology's Student Furniture Designer of the year, sponsored by KI Europe

July 2, 2012

KI sponsored the Mixology 2012 Student Furniture Designer of the Year. The award is open to any person enrolled on a recognised furniture design course in the UK. This year's award went to René Olivier for her innovative Tyre Furniture Collection.

René graduated in December 2011 from Bucks New University with a distinction for MA in Furniture Design & Technology. Tyre Furniture was designed during her Master's degree where she was researching how seating was able to reconcile the inherent contradictions within "Movement & Response."

The Tyre Furniture Collection uses discarded bus, car and lorry tyres and a detachable metal frame. The frame is cleverly designed for users to find their own discarded tyre and customise it into seating. This, in turn, acts as a comment about the absurdity of shipping large pieces of furniture around the world, when there are many locally sourced components which can be utilised. The metal frame is a stainless steel tube bent in a semi-circle, which enables the tyre seat to rock comfortably from side to side. The tube is also designed with a hinge to allow the metal frame to fold away for ease of movement and storage. Tyre furniture can be used and is suited to different scenarios ranging from outdoor public spaces to indoor domestic situations.

Jonathan Hindle, Group Managing Director of KI EMEA, who was also on the judging panel, explained why René's collection was the winning piece:

"We felt all submissions this year were of good quality and demonstrated sound design thinking and execution. The overall award went to René because the Tyre Furniture Collection was both innovative and highly sustainable. Its use of reclaimed tyres was a simple idea, well executed and can be used in lots of different ways. Her sustainable approach to a significant global problem sets a great example to other designers who time and time again expend raw materials to make 'nice furniture'. She deserves this award, showing social responsibility at its very best and showing how furniture, if thought about in a very broad global context, can literally make a difference to the lives of people whose furniture is quite literally, often staring them in the face."

René's Tyre Furniture collection includes the 'Flower Tread'; this is a straddle seat which consists of a discarded car tyre and a loose cover. The cover fits a variety of car-sized tyres, customising the tyre into a seat and left the bottom of the tyre bare for gripping purposes.

'Flower Tread'
Discarded lorry tyres are entwined together to create 'Tyred', a unique seating apparatus. 'Tyred' is versatile seating, designed to allow a variety of sitting and relaxing positions. It would be ideal for use in public spaces as it is suitable for more than one user at a time and maybe left outside in all weather.

Whilst, the 'Rock & Roll' Tyre seating is designed to rock from side to side and also rolls 360˚. René took her inspiration from the energy of children in the playground. Rock & Roll consists of lorry sized tyres, a detachable metal frame & a cushion. The user can sit and relax or choose to use their feet to enable a comfortable rocking motion from side to side or use the body to roll the tyre seat.

'Rock and Roll'
René describes "Art & Design" as part of her being, "I am a curious and conceptual thinker, who wants to push the boundaries in search of extraordinary ideas for furniture and other things. I feel most alive when I'm designing, inventing, discovering & exploring new possibilities."

"My designs are not about me but my desire to initiate a change that makes a difference to peoples’ lives."

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