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Congratulations to product designer Ilsa Parry, who has been unveiled as the winner of BBC 2’s Design for Life competiton, featuring Phillipe Starck. Liverpool-based Ilsa won the show with her innovative Flo design. The show, which began on BBC 2 on September 14th, followed the progress of 12 budding product designers under the tutelage of Phillipe Starck and Eugeni Quitllet. Parry, 27, from Liverpool developed her winning walking aid design after exploring lifecycles and studying perpetual motion during assignments given by Starck, becoming fascinated by improving the efficiency of products and extending their lifecycles. Applying these concepts to humans, Ilsa created the Flo walking aid with the intention of helping the less mobile retain a sense of self. 

Of her intellectual property, Ilsa commented, “I am a great believer in providing a platform and support for new and emerging designers to develop their skills and ideas. Organisations such as ACID are integral in developing the next generation of designers by helping them protect their work and ultimately encouraging further innovation within our community. I like to look at all my products as companions to their owners, to be used in conjunction with their daily lives, being used wherever they may go and enabling them,” explains Ilsa, “The idea behind Flo was to let those who are less physically able lead the lives that their bodies don’t necessarily enable but their minds may do.” 

Made from a carbon fibre composite, the elegantly twisted Flo discreetly positions to lock the lower leg in place whilst the longer retained upper body strength is used intuitively to pull the body up in an elegant manner to retain dignity. Ilsa continued, “I am so thrilled to have won Design for Life – it has been a great learning experience for me, especially as I was given the chance to work with Phillipe and Eugeni. As a designer my focus has always been on innovation and experimentation, getting people to question things and recognise products for what they are and assisting people to build relationships with the products they own in order to encourage people to be more discerning as consumers – a belief which I found was also integral to the Starck company.” 

Ilsa’s win was followed by a six-month placement with Starck in Paris where she was able to further develop her design skills, leading to the establishment of REthinkthings, Ilsa’s creative management company. Ilsa’s designs will be on display at the Liverpool Design Festival from October 29th – November 1st at the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The Flo design currently has patents pending in the UK and US. Ilsa has just released onto the market her Kaspa Ghost lamp, a recnet finalist in ‘Gift of the Year’ and composed of ‘smart’ materials.

ACID are also pleased to have another ‘Design for Life’ contestant within membership, Robert Meredith.

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