New Nordic design camp

We know the ’New Nordic Kitchen’, ’New Nordic Fashion’, and ‘New Nordic Architecture’ – now we also have the ’New Nordic Design Camp’. From 5 – 9 May, Design School Kolding and LEGO hosted the LEGO Meets the World Design Camp for BA students from the Nordic Cirrus network. The topic: play and design.

9 students together with their teachers and 27 Kolding students attended the intense camp where the key words were collaboration, ideation, concept development and communication.

The participants were divided into groups and each group was given a challenge by LEGO under the headline LEGO Meets the World. So LEGO met the world through 10 challenges: Zero Gravity, Outdoors, Playground, Fashion, Urban, Hacker Culture, Music, Animals/Pets, Sports and Senior Citizens. The students created results that had to include non-LEGO products as well as explanatory films. Also they created concepts which related to the physical as well as relational aspects of play.

Zero Gravity
One of the concepts is LEGO Mass, which is developed by Mia Skovgaard, who is a second-year interaction design student at Design School Kolding and Tian Yi Tong, also an interaction design student, from HDK, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Mia explains the concept:

- We present a new possibility for manipulating the existing LEGO system by using a new, very organic wax material that you can heat and shape with your hands. When it cools off, it becomes hard and you can add it to your LEGO blocks creating a new link, which you can turn in any direction and thus add a new dimension to your build. We want children to think outside the box; to give them the sense that there is nothing stopping them from going against gravity with this system. It sticks to any surface, so you can build on walls, ceilings – even your cat!

Another project dealing with zero gravity is the LEGO Extend by Egle Palubeckyte, Simone Bouchard and Ellen Rykkelid. Extend is about creating a whole new dimension in LEGO’s game by playing with visual perception and space illusion using mirror effects.

Mia Skovgaard thinks the camp has been exciting and challenging.
– We’ve worked under pressure before but never on this scale and in cross-cultural teams like this. It’s always a pleasure to meet new people and you get a different perspective when you communicate with people who have a different background.

LEGO impressed
On the last day of camp the group presented their work to the LEGO representatives, and they were impressed by the students’ efforts. Philip Kongsgaard Døssing, Concept Developer from LEGO Future Lab says:

-This is really, really good. Today’s presentations have been of a very high quality. The level is extraordinary and I’m truly impressed by the students and the way in which they have approached the projects. They have attacked the challenges head on. I’m also impressed with the way the teachers have run the camp. All in all I’m extremely pleased.

Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary approach drives design forward
Since 2008, Design School Kolding has hosted the annual International DesignCamp for MA students – and also collaborated with LEGO – but this is the first time the school hosts a BA camp.

- This camp taps into our Nordic network and takes its point of departure in the Nordic tradition for democratic design. The value of having an international and cross-disciplinary collaboration when working with design is something that we are very aware of; especially due to our annual international MA DesignCamp where we, the students, and the companies involved gain so much knowledge and inspiration. This new Nordic design camp builds on this tradition but of course, on a much smaller scale, says Anette Flinck who is Head of International Relations at Design School Kolding.

Next step
The intense camp week has been about developing concepts and making the ideas seem plausible. The next four weeks Kolding students will continue working with the concepts and mapping the possibilities of implementing them, under the supervision of camp facilitators Barnabas Wetton and Michael Frederiksen.

LEGO Meets the World Design Camp was funded by exchange programme Nordplus.