Next month IDEA Birmingham - a collaboration of leading figures from business and academia - will launch its first Birmingham Made Me Design EXPO at the Mailbox, a week long celebration of everything that’s good about industrial design in the region.
From June 15 to 22, the city centre venue will host a series of events and exhibitions showcasing talent from across the Midlands which will culminate in an awards night with categories including Best Brand, Best Innovation or Radical Design, Best Collaborative Design and Best Emerging Brand and a Lifetime Achievement Award for an exceptional contribution to innovation and design.
The winners of each category will be decided by a public vote and people can vote online at www.ideabirmingham.co.uk for their favourites in each category. In a four week series, we will showcase the shortlist for each of the categories and this week we are looking at the candidates for Best Innovation or Radical Design.
Acme Whistles are the world’s largest and most famous producer of whistles, with a string of firsts to their name and an assured heritage, having produced the first Police Whistle and the first whistle to be used by a football referee, The Acme Thunderer. Amongst many notable inventions are the “silent” Dog Whistle, The Lifejacket Whistle and the incredibly powerful Tornado Whistles which will be seen on duty at the Olympics this summer. The company is headquartered in Birmingham’s prestigious Jewellery Quarter, where it was founded in 1870 by Joseph Hudson. Not surprisingly, it also manufactures jewellery whistles in precious metal, including miniature reproductions of the whistles made for use on the steamship Titanic in 1912.
AGA Total Control
The launch of AGA Total Control has been the culmination of a seven-year development programme involving AGA reassessing the nature of its cooker, manufacturing processes and its sustained relevance in today’s economic and environmental climate.
AGA Total Control – “On when you need it, off when you don’t” – has captured consumer imagination, driving sales internationally. It has led to the introduction of a range of new manufacturing processes, resulting in the AGA now largely being factory built rather than assembled in the home.
To date the AGA has had a single heat source managing all the ovens; following the introduction of the AGA Total Control each individual oven and hotplate has its own heat source enabling them to be separately controlled with far shorter heat up time. With a touch-screen control panel, a remote controller from which the timings of the
AGA can be managed over a weekly cooking cycle, as well as an AGA ‘App’ enabling AGA owners to use a mobile phone to turn their AGA on and off, the Total Control can operate using less than a fifth of the energy of the current electric equivalent.
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Birmingham City University is examining ways to use the retention qualities of the cast iron AGA to best effect by testing their ability to act as a battery, producing electricity economically and storing it at the domestic point of use.
In addition the first AGA Rayburn Energy Management Centre in Kidderminster is selling photovoltaic systems to consumers wishing to generate renewable energy and benefit from the ‘Feed In Tariff’.
Hozelock’s innovative new AutoReel is the ultimate easy to use hose reel which can be smoothly and easily rewound with no kinks, tangles or effort. With good design delivering export sales Hozelock products are sold in more than 60 countries, the company were the proud recipients of several awards for its export achievements during 2012. Hozelock is one of Britain’s favourite gardening suppliers. They continually invest in keeping their comprehensive range up to date with products covering garden watering, garden pressure sprayers, pond equipment and high pressure cleaners.
Founded on an airfield in 1959 in the village of Haddenham, from its early days its drive has always been to develop technically perfect, visibly striking products that are part of a total system.
Its first product was the world’s first plastic hose connector, the Hoze-Lock. Today, its head office is in Birmingham and although it is a global garden equipment manufacturer, over 75 per cent of its products are made in Britain. With over half a century of horticultural expertise, Hozelock combines its knowledge and passion for gardening with pride in craftsmanship aimed at delivering solutions that help gardens flourish.
Morgan Aero Coupe
The Aero Coupe is an advanced supercar designed for practical long distance touring. This strong, rigid vehicle is inspired by the GT3 Aero which has enjoyed a number of racing victories. The enclosed cockpit of the Coupe body style takes the Aero experience onto the next level in terms of comfort and practicality with a large and secure boot in the rear for luggage. Constructed entirely from aluminium, one third the weight of steel, the Morgan Aero Coupe combines performance with environmental responsibility and a high level of safety. The fixed roof and enclosed cabin give a sense of security and silence.
A stiff aluminium chassis cradles the 4.8 litre BMW V8 engine and the 6 speed manual or automatic transmission. The individual alloy parts are formed from tooling and hand assembled by skilled craftsmen at the foot of the Malvern hills. The pioneering Aero platform continues to demonstrate British engineering at its very best and over 1000 examples of this technology are in regular use by drivers around the world. A Morgan Aero Coupe is a car that is designed to be durable with proven chemical coating and treatments of the rigid bonded chassis and body. Following research by the company on the road, the race track and in automotive laboratories the design of this versatile platform has been consistently improved and re-engineered. Now the Morgan Motor Company is a class leader in this chassis and car body technology.
Range Rover Evoque
Jaguar Land Rover is the largest UK automotive investor in research & development and UK automotive employer with around 19,000 employees, indirectly supporting a further 140,000 jobs through its supply chain, dealer network and associated business operations. Around 4,700 people are employed at the Solihull Land Rover site with many more supporting the supply chain. Land Rover’s first major success of 2012 came when the Range Rover Evoque was named North American Truck of the Year.
Reviewed by a judging panel of 60 senior US automotive journalists the Evoque was chosen as the winner after being reviewed across six categories: value for money, innovation, handling, performance, safety and driver satisfaction. In the UK, the Range Rover Evoque has been named Car of the Year by several titles including Auto Express, Top Gear and The Sun. The Women’s World Car of the Year award, bringing together female journalists from 12 countries, also chose the Range Rover Evoque as their overall winner being the car with most points across four categories. Lorely Burt MP for Solihull said: “JLR is a world class global company manufacturing iconic products contributing to the UK’s balance of payments, with JLR exporting 75 per cent of their products approaching £8 billion export revenue last year.”