10:48pm Monday 11 December 2017

Cafe ambience designed to get blood flowing

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Callum Starling’s submersible marine craft.


Alissa Richardson, in her fourth-year at the Auckland School of Design – part of the College of Creative Arts, says her creation was inspired by regular publicity about blood supply shortages.

Her furniture range, consisting of swivel chairs with adjustable arm rests, a round cafe table and separate tray unit for blood collection that can be set up for couples or groups to share a hot drink and chat as they give blood.

Ms Richardson’s project, called Share, will be on show at the school’s Design Exposure 2010 exhibition of final year industrial, transport and visual communication student work this weekend.

“I wanted to recreate a cafe atmosphere because so many people are familiar with that,” she says. Her experience as a first-time blood donor earlier this year sparked her interest in why so few New Zealanders – just 4 per cent – donate blood. Her conclusion was that people needed more incentives, such as a more enticing, less clinical setting.

“I was quite shocked by the layout and how bland the current system is.” Her main gripe was the clinical chairs, which she felt suggested illness even though blood donors are required to be in good health.

Her research highlighted the need for a more social atmosphere to distract people from factors that deter so many, such as fear of needles and the sight of blood. Most donors are aged 40 to 60, and she wants to see younger people giving blood. The Blood Service provided funding for the project and is considering the potential for further development of the design.
Paul Hayes, marketing manager for the New Zealand Blood Service says; “Alissa’s project and our relationship with Massey University will help raise awareness of the constant need for new donors and especially the need for more young people to volunteer to donate blood for the good of their community.”

He says new donor numbers were down by 20 per cent last year. Around 42,000 New Zealanders need blood or blood products each year.

Other industrial design projects include a footwear system to help runners make the transition to barefoot running, and an automated strawberry picker.

Among innovative transport projects on show at the weekend is a personal submarine design by transport designer Callum Starling. He says his 1Atmosphere Bio-Submersible, which resembles something out of the cult science fiction television series Thunderbirds, moves silently through the water like a stingray and is powered by a zero emissions electric drive train.

Designed to be manufactured using cost-effective rotational moulding techniques, Mr Starling estimates it could sell for the same price as a trailer boat. “This shifts the realm of the personal submersible away from the toys of the super rich, to an affordable consumer product,” he says.

The exhibition is open from 10am-6pm from November 5-7 at Shed 6, Upper Deck, 90 Wellesley Street, Auckland. It is part of the annual BLOW festival run by Massey’s College of Creative Arts in Wellington.


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