University College Falmouth graduate shows off design to Sir
A former student on University College Falmouth's award
winning BA (Hons) 3D Design course recently promoted his innovative
chair design to the team of contestants from BBC2's
hit series, The Apprentice.
Tom Raffield's beautifully hand-sculpted chair, a steam-bent
wooden creation that defies conventional chair designs in
virtually every respect, was hand-picked by the producers
of the television show to feature in last week's task
set by Sir Alan Sugar. One of Tom's similar chair designs,
Chaise-Longue No4, was recently displayed to glowing critical
reception at Milan's prestigious Salone Satellite exhibition.
Tom's chair was spotted during the 100% East exhibition
in London last year. It featured in the Talent Zone section
which exhibits work produced by emerging designers and their
new businesses. Together with nine other designers from around
the UK who all had their own new product prototypes, Tom pitched
his design to the seated apprentices who had to pick an item
that they believed could be mass produced for the commercial
"It was an amazing experience, verging on the surreal
at times," says Tom who had the daunting task of
stepping up in front of the seven remaining contestants and
Sir Alan Sugar's silently watchful colleagues. "There
I was shaking hands with the apprentice Syed, then standing
in front of the group with my chair design and a television
crew of about forty!"
After the show, Tom received encouraging feedback from the
team, particularly Sir Alan's panel of judges, known
only as 'Nick' and Margaret,' who praised
Tom's 3D design.
"My design got some strong feedback, particularly
from Sir Alan's sidekicks," says Tom.
"Out of the ten designers present, I was the only recent
graduate. The rest had been established industry professionals
for quite some time so it was really gratifying to be recognised
and praised amongst the considerable talent on show."
Since graduating from University College Falmouth, Tom has
set up an innovative design and manufacturing company with
two former BA (Hons) 3D Design graduates, Chris Jarrett and
Charlie Whinney. The Redruth-based company, Sixixis, specialises
in using exclusively Cornish unseasoned timber to create complex
3D designs for a contemporary market.
"We are extremely keen to source local wood in
support of the county's economy, to design and manufacture
products using the process of steam-bending," says
Tom. "I have the 3D Design Course at University
College Falmouth to thank for introducing my work colleagues
and me to this unique process, and for assisting us in developing
core business development practices that have helped us create
Sixixis in Cornwall."
"The courses we teach combine the very best facilities
for traditional making as well as the latest computer-controlled
machinery in superb surroundings," explains University
College Falmouth's Director of Design, John Miller.
"We are committed to helping Cornwall's designers
launch and sustain successful careers through our strong links
with industry and the advice and space that we provide for
And finally did Tom get to offer Sir Alan a very unique seat?
"Unfortunately not," says Tom. "There
was no black Bentley in sight. He kept well away!"
For further information please contact Jilly Easterby at
University College Falmouth on 01326 211077 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the
Isles of Scilly has invested in CUC, both Phase 1 and Phase
2 through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). University
College Falmouth is a partner of the CUC.
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