Designer dialogue: Famed UK designer Chris Lefteri advances creative design with plastics at K2016

At K 2016, designer Chris Lefteri discussed how plastics influence design solutions and how design concepts can initiate development of new materials.

February 16, 2017 – Covestro is looking to make the world a brighter place with our innovative and sustainable developments. But for this to occur, we know that we must first understand the needs of consumers and others along the various value chains. It is then up to designers to breathe life into the initial ideas and add aesthetic and functional qualities, resulting in the “must-have” products consumers crave. In many sectors, it is the designers who ultimately select the material.

Because creative minds can be inspired to come up with completely new ideas if they are familiar with the properties of plastics, Covestro is placing great emphasis on gaining a better understanding of designers’ needs. At the same time, we relay our product knowledge to them. The focus on design was evident in our booth during K 2016, the world’s largest plastics trade fair, held in the fall of 2016.

Each day during the 8-day event, Covestro focused on a different theme, and on Oct. 24, Design took center stage at the booth. A highlight was a keynote address by famed UK designer Chris Lefteri, recognized around the world as a leading authority on materials and their application in design. His presentation, “The future & how to get there: Future trends in materials” focused on how plastics influence design solutions and, conversely, how design concepts can initiate the development of new materials.

Lefteri left his mark on Covestro in another fundamental way, as well, providing his input into the design of the K 2016 stand design. For the first time, the stand was set up in a circular shape to echo the Covestro logo. Walls of transparent polycarbonate were illuminated in the corporate colors and provided the backdrop for the exhibits. The structure was designed specifically to convey a sense of transparency and openness, inviting visitors to drop in for a talk.

In addition to his participation with Covestro, Lefteri was a speaker at the Design Chain @K conference, held during K 2016. The two-day conference included a number of sessions offering insight into the practical and technical innovation aspects of the ‘design chain’ in today’s plastics arena; looking at the designer’s use of plastics and considering the manufacturing, supply chain and project management issues experienced by product designers.

Outreach to students is another focus of Covestro’s focus on design. One particular project aimed at encouraging this dialog was the first Covestro Makeathon, which was organized to precede K 2016. The word is a combination of the words “make” and “marathon” – both of which describe the atmosphere at this creative event held in August at the Münster School of Architecture. Twenty-four design students spent five days working with Covestro plastics and discovering completely unexpected applications for the established products. The most exciting and inspiring ideas were featured during Design Day at K 2016.

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