Best Product and Industrial Design Student Work Spotted in 2021


Given the importance of in-person studio time, product design and industrial design students must have found confinement difficult. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at some of the standout projects we’ve seen this year.

Of the dozens of student projects we covered in 2021, these seven below really stood out. Students tackled real-world problems and asked the right questions. They did not rely on magical hypothetical applications in their designs, but rather manipulated physical materials to enable their objects to achieve the desired results. None of these projects are designed for Instagram.

Most projects considered the overall system they would operate in, and most projects really showed off their research and development work; click on the links below for more details.

Politecnico di Milan Concept Design Laboratory, Italy

Students brainstormed the physical UX of a pothole repair device, as well as the economic system that would allow municipalities to maintain it.

National College of Art and Design, Ireland

Morgan asked “How many of our devices are actually essential?” and designed a toaster with “a distributed feature set: where the features of the design are supplemented by other objects the user owns”.

University of New South Wales, Australia

Kong’s sleek seats designed for orchestra members have improved adjustment mechanisms to accommodate a variety of instrument-based seating postures. It also stacks to take up less space than the current design.

San Francisco State University

Kasirifar’s chair designed to seat, stimulate and engage children can be turned around in a variety of configurations, “merging the concept of toy and furniture”.

University of Canterbury, New Zealand

Williamson devised a cheaper and more durable way to protect vineyards from pests than the system in place.

Kaohsiung National University of Science and Technology, Taiwan

Wang and Wu’s cleaning cart makes things easier for the worker’s body with improved ergonomics and a transformative configuration that provides better maneuverability in tight spaces.

Center of St. Martins, UK

By developing a practical method to turn food waste into something useful, Echard has developed a system that takes into account the environment, the supply chain and the economy.

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