Student to exhibit sustainable design in Milan

27 August 2021

Rent Deck Model
Rent Deck Model
Type: Text
Category: Student stories, Innovation

Sustainable Product Design graduate Herbie Hodson has been selected to exhibit his final year project at the prestigious 2021 Lost Graduation Show in Milan.

The exhibition, held at the Salone del Mobile.Milano, will celebrate some of the finest student designers from around the world. The students, who come from 48 design schools across 22 countries, were selected from the initial 300 schools that responded to an open call for submissions.

Herbie's design ‘Rent Decks’ addresses the enormous volume of cheap, throwaway plastic bodyboards that litter Cornwall’s beaches each summer; every year a staggering 14,000 bodyboards are carelessly thrown away by visitors to the south coast.

Herbie found a sustainable solution to the issue by creating his bodyboard from a combination of cork and plywood. But creating a product that was both environmentally and structurally sound proved challenging. 

“I had to find a way of strengthening the cork - that was the big step that I had to overcome”, Herbie explains. “To get the right ratio of plywood to cork was really important.

“When I constructed the board, it was in two halves with a slot cut out that the plywood slipped into. 

"The two bits of cork were then glued around it – the plywood sort of acts like a stringer in a surfboard. It ensures the board won’t just snap in half.”

Herbie perfected his board by trialling his designs on scale models roughly one tenth of the size of his final product.

“I tried a variety of different methods to try and get the strengthening of the materials right”, Herbie told us. “At the start I put an entire sheet of plywood into the core of the board, but whilst giving the necessary strengthening that I needed, the design was far too heavy and I was also creating a lot of waste.

“The aim of my project was to reduce the amount of plastic waste, so to then go and produce loads of plywood waste wouldn’t have made much sense.

“In the end I managed to achieve the same level of strength from using just two centimetres of plywood that I placed in a ring through the board. On top of that, the great thing about cork is that all the waste can easily be remade into new cork.”

Herbie hopes that exhibiting his design in Milan will help launch his career. The high-profile event will provide opportunities to network with industry professionals and talk about his work.

“It’s certainly a city known for design – being exhibited in Milan is something I’m really proud of. I’ll be heading out next week and trying my best to make the most of it.”

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