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ACTIU ACADEMY: The talent pool of Valencian design

ACTIU ACADEMY: The talent pool of Valencian design

FEBRUARY 2023 | 3 minutes

Because talent is out there. It is around the corner, in schools that we can work with and build synergies, giving students not only the opportunity to research, but also to sketch, create and, not to mention, produce and manufacture. Diving into the real world of business and putting everything they have learned over the years into practice.

ARCO is a range of third-space soft seating furniture made up of five pouffes complemented by sound-absorbent dividers and an auxiliary table. When all the pieces are put together, they form an arch, which is where its name comes from. However, there is much more to it than just that. The project is the work of five students attending EASD in Alicante and winner of the first edition of the Actiu Academy awards.

Based on the “Third Space Design” initiative,in conjunction with EcoCero and Finsa, the idea was to add a new twist to classic pieces of furniture for versatile, productive and functional spaces where the word "monotony" is no longer used in the field of education. 

The aim was to challenge the students of the three public schools in the Autonomous Community of Valencia; Escoles d’Art i Superior de Disseny (EASD) de València, Alicante and Alcoi and Instituto Superior De Enseñanzas Artísticas (ISECAV): to provide solutions to new educational spaces, taking the way users interact with them as a basic premise.

Through a Design Thinking methodology Workshop, ACTIU Academy brought together more than one hundred students at its facilities in Castalla in November to look into and provide new solutions to educational space design. As a result, the students presented 22 projects, developing a range of solutions to the challenge of designing versatile educational spaces in line with current educational needs.

Of those 22 projects, five were shortlisted as finalists: INTEAM (EASD València), RUBBY (EASD Alicante), ARCO (EASD Alicante), NEO-GAMI (EASD Alcoi) and OMNI (EASD Alicante). The other pieces were exhibited at the award ceremony, organised in the Centro del Carmen de Cultura Contemporánea (CCCC) in Valencia, where the five teams were given the opportunity to present their proposals and, after deliberation by the jury, the winner was announced.

The second prize went to NEO-GAMI, an origami-inspired design; a foldable table that can be used by one or more people to which dividers can be added. It seeks to customise educational spaces through its versatility and wide range of colours.

The winning projects were judged on how well they were presented before the jury, how original they were and the ease with which they could be put on the market. Furthermore, the two projects will be prototyped with the materials and technologies of the organising companies, by bringing the talents of its designers to life in real products.

For years Actiu has been committed to education, having collaborated with institutions involved in training in the field of design. Now it is also teaming up with design schools to give the green light to different projects that are likely to make a space for themselves in their projects thanks to the incredible pool of local talent.

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