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News

Rapra breaks the plastics design mould

Rapra Technology Limited : 28 March, 2006  (New Product)
Rapra Technology delivered a successful ground-breaking conference in Berlin last week: The Art of Plastics Design, October 18th-19th, featured industry luminaries such as Sebastian Conran and David Humphries and succeeded in exploring the uncharted territory between the aesthetics of product design and the technology of polymer science.
24 November 2005
'This is the interface which governs the quality and performance of the designed and finished plastic product,' said Richard Simpson of Rapra Technology and co-chairman of the Berlin conference. 'We are very pleased that our event has put a relatively unexplored range of product innovation issues on the map.'

Setting the tone of the plastics design event, Sebastian Conran's keynote address stressed the importance of value - as a function of design, brand, quality and cost. His 'Value Equation' set out a framework against which elements such as brand, personality, tactile feel, fashion trends and ethical supply could be analysed. He then laid this alongside the more traditionally understood areas such as materials selection, product performance, quality and functionality. Conran underlined the vital need for the designer, manufacturer and seller to all be part of the product design process. These factors, combined with the intangible ingredient of the 'Big Idea', were the essentials to achieving ultimate success.

Conran said that 'this is an event for both the design and plastics industries that is long overdue. All too often the worlds of industry and commerce and the worlds of art and design remain ignorant of what each can offer the other. Plastics remain an indispensable part of the modern world. Designers need to understand the materials and the processing better. Industrialists need to widen their scope and understanding of what the design world needs. Rapra Technology is ideally placed to broker this activity and deserves support in its efforts to bring these audiences together and grow the market.'

David Humphries, Director of Product Strategy at PDD, then explored the emerging world of neuroscience as part of the design process. Understanding and analysing the physical processes within the brain was explained in his paper 'Neurons that fire together, wire together'. Ultimately, the objective of the designer is to 'hardwire' the elements that communicate quality and brand value in the mind of the consumer and then build and extend upon these within the design process as further product innovation and brand building are undertaken.

The conference went on to explore other appeals to the senses, for instance odour as described in an analytical way by Olivier Noiset of Certech (a Belgian-based technology organisation). Mike Ellams of Razorbite also delivered an entertaining talk which described the bewildering proliferation of brands and products and their (now) comparative affordability and accessibility, thanks to the advent of plastics as a material class.

Later stages of the conference went on to cover plastics in design, special effects polymers and pigments, and the vital design-to-manufacture interface.

The audience brought together at the event represented a unique and first-time blend of product designers and design consultants, materials specialists, and finished product manufacturers. The event, combining artistic and scientific elements in this way, is the first of its kind to be organised by Rapra. 'We believe that we have tapped a need in the design and industrial communities,' says Richard Simpson. 'And, since product design is one of our chosen areas for future business growth, we are likely to repeat such an event in the future.'


'This is the interface which governs the quality and performance of the designed and finished plastic product,' said Richard Simpson of Rapra Technology and co-chairman of the Berlin conference. 'We are very pleased that our event has put a relatively unexplored range of product innovation issues on the map.'

Setting the tone of the plastics design event, Sebastian Conran's keynote address stressed the importance of value - as a function of design, brand, quality and cost. His 'Value Equation' set out a framework against which elements such as brand, personality, tactile feel, fashion trends and ethical supply could be analysed. He then laid this alongside the more traditionally understood areas such as materials selection, product performance, quality and functionality. Conran underlined the vital need for the designer, manufacturer and seller to all be part of the product design process. These factors, combined with the intangible ingredient of the 'Big Idea', were the essentials to achieving ultimate success.

Conran said that 'this is an event for both the design and plastics industries that is long overdue. All too often the worlds of industry and commerce and the worlds of art and design remain ignorant of what each can offer the other. Plastics remain an indispensable part of the modern world. Designers need to understand the materials and the processing better. Industrialists need to widen their scope and understanding of what the design world needs. Rapra Technology is ideally placed to broker this activity and deserves support in its efforts to bring these audiences together and grow the market.'

David Humphries, Director of Product Strategy at PDD, then explored the emerging world of neuroscience as part of the design process. Understanding and analysing the physical processes within the brain was explained in his paper 'Neurons that fire together, wire together'. Ultimately, the objective of the designer is to 'hardwire' the elements that communicate quality and brand value in the mind of the consumer and then build and extend upon these within the design process as further product innovation and brand building are undertaken.

The conference went on to explore other appeals to the senses, for instance odour as described in an analytical way by Olivier Noiset of Certech (a Belgian-based technology organisation). Mike Ellams of Razorbite also delivered an entertaining talk which described the bewildering proliferation of brands and products and their (now) comparative affordability and accessibility, thanks to the advent of plastics as a material class.

Later stages of the conference went on to cover plastics in design, special effects polymers and pigments, and the vital design-to-manufacture interface.

The audience brought together at the event represented a unique and first-time blend of product designers and design consultants, materials specialists, and finished product manufacturers. The event, combining artistic and scientific elements in this way, is the first of its kind to be organised by Rapra. 'We believe that we have tapped a need in the design and industrial communities,' says Richard Simpson. 'And, since product design is one of our chosen areas for future business growth, we are likely to repeat such an event in the future.'
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