Brighton graduate trio bring inspiring eco design to London exhibition

Three recent University of Brighton graduates from our Textiles, Product Design and 3D Design courses are exhibiting at a pioneering London exhibition showcasing work driven by principles of sustainability.

Claiming to be the first zero waste design event in the world, the Planted contemporary ecological design show is taking place from 23-26 September at Samsung KX, Coal Drops Yard, King’s Cross.

The Brighton trio – Lawrence Parent, Connie Brownjohn and Imogen Gray – are sharing their creations as part of the Green Graduates exhibition on 25-26 September, celebrating design graduates who have chosen to focus on issues of sustainability.

Lawrence graduated from Brighton in 2020 with Product Design with Professional Experience BSc (Hons) , on which he created Living Blocks that use material such as discarded fruit and veg to create void within blocks that mimic natural stone. The blocks can either be left to attract natural colonisation or be pre-planted.

Lawrence has set up a business called Wild Structures to develop the product as a construction material to help bring more nature into cities. He said: “I have a passion for biodiversity and want to connect humans and nature. Through my final undergraduate project at the University of Brighton, I developed an interest in creating structures that inherently support plant and insect life. I believe these can disrupt the way we design built spaces, eventually intertwining cities and nature.”

Connie graduated this year with BA(Hons) Textiles Design with Business Studies. Her degree show took inspiration from the ongoing ‘rewilding’ of the Knepp Estate in East Sussex, as well as adjacent farmland given over to industrial agriculture. The ensuing textiles brim with colour and life, contrasting the two approaches to land use.

by connie brownjohn

Connie also won First Prize and seed funding in the Santander University of Brighton Ideas Competition 2021 for a design to create a sustainable and durable, hooded cotton towelling changing robe for swimmers, which avoids the microplastic pollution of synthetic alternatives. She was supported in developing her idea by the University of Brighton’s beepurple initiative offering students and graduates practical support to start their own businesses.

A 2020 graduate in 3D Design and Craft BA(Hons), Imogen has fabricated a new material made from leather scraps – responding to the discovery that a staggering 800,000 tonnes of leather scraps end up in landfill annually. Unlike leather itself, Imogen’s composite material can also be cast in a mould – a fact that helped her win the New Designer of the Year Award 2020 (Environmental Design) in association with Creative Conscience and the Business Design Centre.

by imogen gray

Imogen said: ““Sustainability and avoiding waste have been the most important parts of my  projects. In my second year at University of Brighton, I created a material made from fibrous plants and I proposed it could replace the need for leather all together.”

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