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15th December 2009, 11:30am
A Starck experience for art and design students
Young designers from the Design for Life series Young designers who starred in a major BBC series alongside legendary design guru Philippe Starck described their experiences to more than 100 art and design students from local schools and colleges in a one-off showcase at the University of Lincoln.

The event, called Six of the Starck Best, was organised by the University's Product Design department within the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, and Helen Bickford, a Lincoln graduate who was one of 12 contestants in the Design for Life series broadcast on BBC2 this autumn.

The series challenged a hand-picked group of talented young designers to develop a range of different product design concepts which would impress the flamboyant and unpredictable Starck at his Paris agency. Over the course of six episodes, the 12 hopefuls were whittled down to one winner who claimed the prize of a six-month placement with Starck's firm.

Helen (23), originally from Durham, was chosen for the series after impressing Starck with her innovative, award-winning Nightwatchman chair, which she developed during her studies at Lincoln. She spent almost two months in the French capital in autumn 2008 under the watchful eye of Starck, his staff and the television cameras, making it beyond the half way point of the series before being eliminated.

On Wednesday 9 December Helen and five of her fellow Design for Life contestants travelled to Lincoln from to give a series of presentations to Lincolnshire school and college students and undergraduates from the University's BA(Hons) Product Design programme.

Helen was full of praise for her tutors, Dave Bramston and Stewart Bibby, for instilling in her the confidence she needed to face the challenges thrown at her on the TV programme.

"The course at Lincoln really did help to prepare me," said Helen. "The tutors do a lot of work to build your confidence in presenting projects. That was really helpful when suddenly you have to present your work to one of the world's greatest designers."

Dave Bramston, Programme Leader for BA(Hons) Product Design at the University of Lincoln, said: "The six speakers demonstrated an insight into design that maybe did not get communicated in the BBC documentary. The range of products and the international exhibitions they have been involved in since the Starck experience are a clear indication of their creative design thinking."

The BA (Hons) Product Design programme at the University of Lincoln is gaining in popularity with increased numbers of applicants year on year. Students have exhibited twice at the prestigious SaloneSatellite event held at the Milan Furniture Fair and have been accepted for the 2011 event.

More information on Product Design at the University of Lincoln can be found at or

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