Designing with Cork – Bringing the Industry into the Design Studio Classroom


Designing with Cork – Bringing the Industry into the Design Studio Classroom

T. Franqueira, J. Sampaio, E. Oliveira, C. Pereira, A. Kumagai

This paper presents a collaborative project between the Product Design Course of the University of Aveiro and Amorim Cork Composites. This project was carried out during 2 months, and aimed to generate concepts and products for office and domestic environments based on the raw material of the company – cork. Using the Double Diamond methodology , we implemented the four phases (discover, define, develop, deliver) throughout the project. During the discovery phase, the students had contact with the company at two different moments: in the first one, the company gave a presentation in the classroom and on the second meeting, the students visited Amorim’s production unit and showroom. The students were introduced to the company’s products and production processes and technologies allowing the creation of awareness of the specificities of the material that would be used in their projects. Afterwards, in the define phase, students gathered insights and information about the technical features of the material and the possibilities to apply cork in different contexts. The students started by combining this information with potential user scenarios, developed concepts and finally refined their brief. The brief validation occurred during the third contact moment with the company, which was a presentation session in the classroom. The development phase began with exploration and ideation, leading to the identification of possible solutions and converting concepts into tangible ideas. As the projects evolved, the solutions were tested as mock-ups that allowed for the first experiments and evaluation. Adjustments were made by the students, and their focus shifted to the final phase of delivery, and the subsequent need to prototype with the material provided by the company. The fourth and final contact moment with the company enabled the students to present their final prototypes and project with detailed information. The relationship between the company and the university allowed students to develop concepts and products for the real market context, taking into consideration specific technological and productive constrains and to create solutions for a specified client with defined needs. Furthermore, this project brought to discussion the relevance of including specific challenges within the pedagogical component for the students training, allowing academia to evolve to a more open and collaborative relation with local companies. Another aspect addressed was the development of solutions derived by the material’s properties (taking advantages of the unique features of cork), made the results emerged from a research push context instead of a market pull one.

University-Industry Collaboration, Cork, Product Design

Published online 9/22/2017, 8 pages
Copyright © 2017 by the author(s)
Published under license by Materials Research Forum LLC., Millersville PA, USA

Citation: T. Franqueira, J. Sampaio, E. Oliveira, C. Pereira, A. Kumagai, ‘Designing with Cork – Bringing the Industry into the Design Studio Classroom’, Materials Research Proceedings, Vol. 3, pp 19-26, 2017


The article was published as article 3 of the book Cork Science and its Applications

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