Ipswich school students to take part in furniture design after success designing boats

Published5th August 2022

Ipswich school students to take part in furniture design after success designing boats.

Secondary school students in Ipswich are encouraged to take part in a design challenge at Christchurch Mansion with a furniture theme as part of the DesignLab Nation project running from September 2022 to July 2023.

DesignLab Nation brings together secondary schools in partnership with the V&A museum, regional museums, and creative industries to inspire KS3 and KS4 DesignTech students and their teachers. 

The DesignLab Nation project featured at Ipswich Museum recently marked the collaboration that inspired high school students to learn about, design and build their very own boat.

Since September 2021, Students from Stoke High School, Northgate High School and Chantry Academy have been working with the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and local award-winning Ipswich boatbuilder Spirit Yachts, makers of the world-class hand-built wooden yachts that featured in the James Bond films ‘Casino Royale’ and ‘No Time to Die’.

During the project, designer Liz Brandon-Jones set a design challenge for students informed by sustainability and climate change, which posed the question: as a waterfront town, if sea levels rose then boats would become an important way of life to get around the town. What sort of boat would they build, and who would use it?

Inspired by the collections at the V&A and Ipswich Museum, the students built a range of prototypes, from hospital ships to shops, family craft, floating cafes, leisure boats, personal boats, rescue ships, and fishing rafts. Their work has been on display in rotation alongside loans from the V&A and work from all three schools will be on show at Ipswich Museum until 31 August 2022. Find out more about the exhibition at: DesignLab Nation: Water, Wind and Speed | Ipswich Museums (cimuseums.org.uk)

The next challenge is to make chairs and launches in September 2022, with schools need to book by 1 September 2022. 

Cllr Carole Jones, Ipswich Borough Council Portfolio Holder for Planning and Museums, says:

“DesignLabs Nation is an amazing opportunity for  local schools and our local museums service - we are lucky to be one of only a few regional museums across the country to be taking part.

“The project earlier this year included a visit to visit Spirit Yachts - was a superb opportunity for students involved to be inspired by interesting design taking place in our town.  

“I want to thank our Museum team, and congratulate the students who took part – they were, without exception, a credit to their schools and to Ipswich, and I look forward to similar success from Ipswich’s school students with the next project, which focuses on furniture design.”

Picture credit: Montage of boat designs 2021/22 by Ipswich Borough Council.