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17th September 2009, 9:37am
Graduate Helen gets lessons from design guru Starck
Design for Life hopefuls A University of Lincoln graduate is among a dozen young hopefuls aiming to win the chance to work for one of the world’s most famous product designers, Philippe Starck, in an exciting new BBC programme.

Helen Bickford, who recently graduated from the University’s BA (Hons) Product Design course, is one of 12 aspiring young designers selected from hundreds of applicants to appear in Design for Life, a new six-episode series being screened on BBC Two.

The programme follows the fortunes of these seven men and five women who must battle it out to impress Starck, the flamboyant French design guru.

Assisted by top designer Eugeni and his agency's head of communications, Jasmine, Starck will send the weakest home as and when he feels it necessary. At the end of the series, one lucky British designer will be rewarded with a six-month placement at his design agency.

Helen, who is originally from Durham, graduated from the BA (Hons) Product Design programme at the University of Lincoln in 2008 and exhibited her work at New Designers in London 2008. Her portfolio included the distinctive Nightwatchman chair, inspired by the work of designer Martino Gamper.

The chair, which was created from abandoned pieces of furniture, requires the interaction of the user to remain stable. The design attracted the interest of the curators of the The National Centre for Craft and Design and featured in a collection of emerging talent 2008/09.

Dave Bramston, Senior Lecturer in Product Design at the University of Lincoln, said: “Helen has an ability to explore alternative languages in design and her creative thinking and enthusiasm has enabled her work to get recognised at international exhibitions. The Product Design programme at the University of Lincoln look forward to seeing how she interacts within the Starck studios and are delighted that she has been presented this valuable opportunity.”

Helen describes herself as a fun designer who loves design brands such as Alessi and Ikea as well as quintessentially British design icons, such as the red telephone box. The lack of females in the world of product design spurs her on to make a name for herself in the industry.

She believes the experience of working with Starck will help shape the rest of her career.

Helen said: "The ideals I'll get from him could inspire me to start my own business, or take those ideals to a new workplace and hopefully change it or make it better – it's just such an amazing opportunity."

The first episode of Design for Life was screened at 9pm on BBC Two on Monday 14 September. It will be repeated on BBC One at 12.55am on Friday 18 September 2009. It is also available to watch again on the BBC iPlayer at:">

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