Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

Royal College of Art Showcases Latest Design Products at Milan Design Week 2019

Smart futures with devices that allow users to take control of their data and privacy, soft robotics to support deep, meditative breathing for the visually impaired. Sustainable futures with homewares from industrial waste material, detergents from forestry waste and biomaterials for domestic interiors. Prototypes that bring interactions of fire into lighting, that communicated the passing time and that explore design for disassembly and repairability.

These are just a flavour of the work being shown by Design Products MA, Royal College of Art (RCA) students as part of Ventura Future at Milan Design Week, 9-14 April.

Head of Design Products, Professor Saeema Ahmed-Kristensen said:

‘The Royal College of Art’s Design Products Programme addresses real-world challenges, both current and in the future, through balancing high levels of creativity and technical capability with contextual insight and empathy for people. We are excited to bring a selection of ongoing project work to this year’s Milan Design Week at Ventura Future.’

This student led exhibition will also showcase a selection of projects created as part of a collaborative brief with OPPO, a leading global technology company. OPPO is committed to exploring the relationship between design and technology, aiming to enhance cutting-edge tech experiences with artistic design. With the 5G era approaching, this unique collaborative project aimed to encourage RCA students to think creatively about potential product designs that can bring value to consumers and showcase a smart future. 

The project examined a future where most habitats and many aspects of daily life will be augmented by smart technologies including new applications and capabilities of mobile technology. Through the project students navigated a future that is seamlessly connected, enhanced by design and that embraces humanity.

Vice President of Smartphone, OPPO, Garven Yin said: 'We are delighted to work with the Royal College of Art’s Design Products Program on this project. The creative designs exhibited at the 2019 Milan Design Week exemplifies young generations’ understandings and visions of a smart and connected future. OPPO is dedicated to providing smart devices with impressive designs and cutting-edge technologies, through which we can create more value for our consumers. Thanks to collaborative projects like this, we encourage more young talents to join our journey of exploring the possibilities of design and how they interact with technology.'

RCA highlights from the exhibition includes:

  • Eric Saldanha’s Frigo is an actively cooled vaccine carrier that can be powered by the motion of the person carrying it.*
  • SafeSound by Yang Yu is a smart earphone that lets people take control of what is captured from their surroundings. For those who like using smart devices but are concerned about privacy and data safety.*
  • GoodWaste by Ambra Dentella, Ewan Alston and Rafael Muldal El Baz is a proposal for the Old Oak redevelopment area in London. Industrial waste from nearby Park Royal — London’s largest industrial site — is used to produce homewares for the 25,000 new homes being built area over the next 20 years.
  • Isabel Alonso has created a collection of flat-packed crafted furniture that combines affordability and accessibility with local manufacturing, authenticity, sustainability and quality. The user finishes the artisan’s work by assembling the furniture with a system that resembles traditional carpentry clamps.
  • Elliot Lunn’s Make Something kits teaches users to make and unmake working products such as a mixing synthesiser or a spy’s tripwire with readily available electrical components and low cost recyclable materials.

*denotes projects in collaboration with OPPO

Please visit the Royal College of Art at BASE Milano (full address and opening hours below).


A description of projects and images can be found here.

For further information, additional images or to arrange interviews please contact Kim Pham, RCA Press Office on t: +44 (0) 20 7590 4127, e: [email protected]   

Notes to Editors

Milan Design Week – Tuesday, 9 April - Sunday, 14 April 2019
BASE Milano (2 entrances)
Via Tortona 54, 20144, Milan, Italy
Via Bergognone 34, 20144, Milan, Italy

Tuesday 9 April – Saturday 13 April: 09:30 – 20:00
Wednesday 10 April (Open evening): 20:00 – 22:00
Sunday 14 April: 09:30 – 18:00

About the RCA

The Royal College of Art, the internationally renowned art and design university, provides students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world.

A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in the heart of London, the RCA is a high performing institution, a radical traditionalist in a fast paced world.

The RCA's approach is founded on the premise that art, design creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today's global challenges.

The University employs around 1000 professionals from around the world – professors, researchers, art and design practitioners, advisers and visiting lecturers – to teach and develop students in 30 academic programmes.

RCA students are exposed to new knowledge in a way that encourages them to experiment. Working across scientific and technical canvases and beyond set boundaries, RCA students seek to solve real-world problems.

The RCA runs joint courses with Imperial College London and the Victoria & Albert Museum. InnovationRCA, the university's centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 50 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 600 UK jobs.

Alumni include David Adjaye, Christopher Bailey, Monster Chetwynd, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Thomas Heatherwick, Lubaina Himid, Clare Waight Keller and Rose Wylie.

The RCA was named the world's leading university of art and design in the QS World Rankings 2019 for the fifth consecutive year.

About OPPO

OPPO is a leading global smart device brand. Since launching its first smartphone, titled Smiley Face, in 2008, OPPO has been in relentless pursuit of the synergy of aesthetic satisfaction and innovative technology in 10 years.

Today, OPPO provides customers with a wide range of smart devices spearheaded by the Find and R series, ColorOS operating system, as well as internet services such as OPPO Cloud and OPPO+.

OPPO operates in more than 40 countries and regions, with six research centers worldwide and an international design center in London, OPPO’s more than 40,000 employees are dedicated to creating new experiences and greater value for customers around the world.