Awards boost British car industry
For the first year ever, the Design Council has made awards for automotive products, from completed vehicles like the Leyland National bus to components such as a tractor seat suspension system.
Planned as a regular part of the Design Council's activities, the awards programme has been carried out in conjunction with the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders to act as a timely boost for the British car industry.
A total of six awards has been made out of a short list of 28 which included one complete British car
The Leyland National bus was first produced in 1972 and is a common sight on town and country roads alike. The bus was designed to be manufactured on automatic assembly lines (DESIGN 306/46) and its modular construction of riveted pressed steel gives a high strength-to-weight ratio, and allows fast replacement of damaged components. The basic design, say the judges, is versatile in its seating arrangements and different uses, namely express, city or executive commuter services.
Lumenition Ltd's award for its infra-red breakerless ignition system emphasises reliability. The system does away with the usual ritual of adjusting the contact breaker points on a car every few thousand miles. It also helps 'cold starting' as the engine will fire even when the current available from the battery falls as low as five volts.
The problem of exhaust emission is alleviated by the use of a single camshaft to actuate four valves per cylinder on the Triumph Dolomite Sprint. The judges were impressed with the compactness of the combustion chamber which this design produces: 'a vital facet in respect of exhaust emission control.' They suggest that this design philosophy can be extended to many other vehicles to gain greater efficiency in combustion, thus reducing pollution.
Ford's vehicle instrumentation cluster is praised for its modular construction leading to 'dramatic savings in cost.' It uses one basic housing onto which a series of interchangeable instrument modules, such as left or right-hand drive versions, can be assembled.
The ergonomic design of the Bostrom tractor seat and suspension unit is an attempt to amend the frightening statistic that 70 per cent of tractor drivers at an average age of 25 have spinal deformation as compared with 40 per cent of factory workers at an average age of 45. It does this through damped seat resonance, adjustable suspension in seven positions, a seat with shaped pan and a soft roll-over back for comfortable backwards looking working. Good circulation of air around the seat is achieved by using a detachable cloth-covered pad insert which can be removed when it rains.
The other award winner w as the KI Automotive Products child safety seat, wider reported as the best and sometimes only satisfactory safety seat.
Designers get Queen's Award 'firsts'
For the first time, design groups have beer picked for the Queen's Award to Industry Cartoon animator Halas and Batchelor ant textile studio Deryck Healey Associates hay. each won a place on the 1974 Export Achievement list.
Deryck Healey, employing some 70 de signers based in a Victorian house on th. Harrow Road (backed up by some 180 free lancers), has for eight months advised Maru beni, the huge Japanese trading company, o. colour, design and fashion in fabrics. The firm also works for US double-jersey mills Kniteway and Texfi.
Halas & Batchelor, under proprietor Pete Holmans, claims to have raised export revenue
from £16 000 to £500 000 within the three year period considered by the Queen's Award assessors. Employing 200 staff (150 animators and 50 technicians), the firm does commercials for German, French and Dutch tv and has recently completed four series of 'Addams Family' cartoons for US tv.
The BBC 2 series 'Design by Design' continues into June. It includes 'A Matter of Detail', a film based on the idea of Hugh Conway that bad detail design leads to most reliability problems.
The employment consultancy, Advertising Personnel, is offering a check-up for designers of their job marketability, whether in work or not. Says Peter Steiner, "Things move so fast in the design world that a person who isn't bothering to watch the job market can be in for a shock when he suddenly finds he has to move."
An outward bound school for designers is being set up by a group of academics in Canada as an attempt to 'break design education out of the rigid format that exists in many schools of design throughout the US, UK and Canada.' .- Information from Prof Neville Green, Department of Art and Design, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
:The Scandinavian industrial art fair, Scan Craft 74, which was to have been held at Bella Centret, Copenhagen, has been postponed.
The reason for this decision: the Scandinavians have already gathered in more orders than they can reasonably cope with.
The Design Council has been suggested as the appropriate 'central authority' to monitor the aesthetic standards of industrialised kit-of-parts agricultural buildings. The suggestion is made in a report from the Council for the Protection of Rural England, which criticises lack of planning restraint on agricultural sites.
Industrialised units, which might make up 80 per cent of all farm buildings in the next 20 years, are not fitted to the special requirements of particular locations, the CPRE claims. A central authority would check design prior to factory production, publish criteria, and award prizes.
Revised colour finishes for factory-made cladding used in farm buildings are detailed in a report of the same name published by the Design Council.
Foster Associates and Amsterdam industrial designer Kho Liang Ie, well known for his Artifort furniture, have joined forces for an East Anglia University scheme to house Sir Robert and David Sainsbury's art collection. The designers will share all aspects of the project. Price is set at a maximum of £1.5m. Completion is expected in 1977. It is understood that Sir Robert and Lady Sainsbury will be closely involved at all stages of the project.
Public ownership of oil platform building sites in Scotland has been recommended as a safeguard against the sort of environmental mess left by the Industrial Revolution. This was stated in a Scottish Oil Development Council report from a committee chaired by Lord Bute, also chairman of the Scottish National Trust and a member of the Scottish Design Council. Public ownership, it is suggested, would also encourage public confidence in planning provisions, and ensure 'continuity of employment and use of the site'.
Design centres should relate their work to social problems, according to an international ICSID-sponsored meeting in Berlin. Their brief should not stop at assessment of finished products; they should instruct industry on consumer requirements, going beyond economic, commercial (and aesthetic) standards.
People-powered cars go racing
The British Racing and Sports Car Club is running a people-powered car challenge, sponsored by Marlborough. It has attracted interest from over 100 individuals and organisations and will be climaxed by road testing and time trials at a motor racing circuit, probably in August or September.
In addition to the straight time trial over 100m which was the original specification, the competition will have a category for vehicles which would comply with the Road Traffic Act and be assessed on criteria such as roadholding, braking and steering.
Many entries are expected to be sophisticated versions of wheelchairs. Engineers at British Rail's Derby Technical Centre are known to be working on a cycle car.
Information from Peter Browning, British Racing & Sports Car Club, Empire House, Chiswick High Road, London.
Jewellery celebrates platinum hallmark
Johnson Matthey has announced the winners of its Platinum Jewellery Design Competition. The competition, in two categories - rings and other jewellery without the use of gems acknowledges the introduction on I January 1975 of a hallmark for platinum following the Hallmark Act. This lays down
that the minimum
Winner of the rings category.
platinum content should be 95 per cent. A trophy and £500 goes to Peter Mott in the rings category with runners-up Wendy Ramshaw and R Stirk. In the jewellery category, Michael Kane takes first prize with David Robinson and Colin Freeman as runners up.
Journal launched to aid poor communities
Intermediate Technology Ltd. the non-profitmaking group founded by Dr Schumacher to look at the problems of rural development in the Third World, has just launched a journal Appropriate Technology as a vehicle for its ideas. To be published quarterly, it is aimed at the field worker up to administrator level on projects in a developing country.
The journal will have the financial support of the Commonwealth Foundation and is aiming for a circulation of 10 000.
The main message in the journal will be that poor communities must learn to help themselves through the application of appropriate technology working within the constraints and limitations of poverty.
In the words of Dr Schumacher: "The developing countries have a lot of experience of poor quality technology and do not have the money to employ a rich country's technology. There is a gap in between which the poor don't know about and which the rich countries have already lost. Development has become a business of all or nothing - the sickle or the jet engine - and there is little in between."
JACK WARD has joined Letraset International as managing director of the Commercial Art Products Division.
CARLA REID ADAM joins the marketing group of Allied International Designers after seven years at J Walter Thompson.
DENNIS NEAL, former managing director of Heal Fabrics, has been appointed furnishing contract agent for Textile Impressions Ltd.
WALTER BUNDAY has been appointed consultant adviser to MCS (Fire Precaution Services) Ltd which was formed last autumn by Cope/ Notter Design Associates in conjunction with the Harman Fishwater Group.
FITCH & CO has been appointed to handle the design management for the new expansion programme of Argos Distributors.
PROFESSOR WILLIAM HOWELL, an architect in the partnership of Howell, Killick, Partridge and Amis, has been appointed chairman of the Building Research Establishment Advisory Committee.
ERICK DAVIDSON has been appointed administration and promotions executive with Guyatt/ Jenkins Design Group.
FRED POOLEY, president of RIBA, has been appointed GLC chief of planning and transportation.
BRIAN MINARDS has been appointed assistant graphic designer with Cheshire County Council.
SIR ST JOHN ELSTUB is the new president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
JULIAN BEINART is the programme chairman of the Aspen, Colorado, 24th International Design Conference, June 16-21.