We have been making handmade kitchens for the past 40 years and, to this day, never underestimate the value of good design. As times change, so too do the demands of modern life, and any designer – kitchen or otherwise – must adapt. We started the Student Design Project to engage students at the start of their career, inspire interesting design ideas and ultimately reward young talent. Our brief was centred on an age-old design challenge: storage.
Working with a number of UK universities, participating students were asked to re-imagine one of Harvey Jones’ signature storage pieces – the iconic pantry larder. The brief was simple: the young designers could use the basic pantry larder and maintain its external appearance, but were encouraged to design any extra features inside, whether it be unique shelving, drawers, spice racks and gadgets. By way of a ‘brief’, all they received were basic dimensions – the rest was up to them.
Why the humble larder? Clever storage solutions are at the core of a practical kitchen. For a well-functioning space, every piece of cookware, from accessories to appliances, needs its place, and every cupboard, drawer or shelf needs to be designed around the most frequent activities. It’s simply about good design.
Many innovative ideas were submitted - including rotating shelves that made it easier to access the back of the cupboard and storage options specifically designed for perishable food - and the five shortlisted designs were judged at a panel day held at the Divertimenti showroom in Knightsbridge.
We compiled a panel of esteemed judges, each having a wealth of experience and expertise to draw from. This included Harvey Jones’ Head of Design, Melissa Klink, influencer and freelance design journalist Ciara Elliott and renowned home interiors influencer Lisa Dawson. The judges considered several aspects of the designs, including their inspiration, uniqueness, practicality and how they could be marketed to the public.
After much deliberation, the panel were unanimous on their final choice:
Hasan Rasib, from Leeds Beckett University, won with his unique folding chair design. Inspired by the utility aspect of the pantry larder, Hasan thought the number of chairs in most kitchens isn’t enough to seat extra guests. A folding chair that can fit inside the larder is a discrete and effective solution to create more seating space without cluttering the kitchen.
As part of the experience, Hasan was invited to join the design team at the Harvey Jones workshop in Wisbech, where he was able to take part in the hand-built construction of his Folding Chair.
When asked about his experience, Hasan said:
“The student design competition was a great opportunity to grow as a designer, as it allowed me to push myself and try new ideas. I was excited to hear that my chair design had won, and this was a great boost in my self-esteem. Receiving the opportunity to visit Harvey Jones Kitchens' workshop in Wisbech gave me an insight into how an established kitchen business operates. Overall, the design competition was an enjoyable and rewarding experience.”
With this project, we wanted to provide an opportunity for aspiring design professionals to gain insight, experience and confidence for a long and successful career. We strongly believe in supporting young designers and rewarding students for the fresh, innovative and surprising ideas they bring to the industry; the future of design relies upon it.