The BIID Student Challenge 2019

By November 27, 2019 December 3rd, 2019 Events and News

We’re delighted to announce that Liz, our Design Director, was invited to mentor Plymouth College of Art at the annual BIID Student Design Challenge. Herman Miller, London hosted 8 universities with teams of 6 students, who competed.


The brief (issued at 9am)

To design, within the existing showroom, a zero-waste supermarket and café. Including-

  • Supermarket:
    • No plastic packaging
    • Local produce; minimal carbon footprint
    • Storage
  • Cafe with kitchen and dining area
  • One piece of Herman Miller Furniture

To present each team was given 4x A1 foamboards. No CAD, tear sheets or externally sourced images could be used- hand drawing only.

Following announcement of the brief, Liz probed her team for their reactions, thoughts and ideas. Everyone agreed the brief was exciting and appropriate given the current climate crisis. 

The students ideas

  • The supermarket could have a tree central piece to divide the space/ create a focal point. To be constructed by a local artist, from recycled/ reused/ found materials/ objects.
  • Food and produce to be displayed in baskets or jars so customers can fill their own containers.
  • Home-made baby food produced from overstock produce in the cafe.
  • Product displays indicating carbon footprint, origin, ingredients, etc.
  • Interactive product QR code and app to check item details/ suggest recipes.
  • No meat on sale in the supermarket – high carbon footprint. Dairy products included (to reach a wider audience) – work to educate/ encourage shoppers to choose vegan options. 
  • Vegan cafe with 5 varied meals served each day (using excess or seasonal products from the store).
  • Cafe furnishings on wheels/ adaptable heights so the space is multipurpose.
  • Specify Herman Miller Crosshatch stool in this area
  • Guest chef each week preparing a new vegan recipe – the meal of the week. Available to try in the cafe all week; ingredients available to buy. 
  • Meal of the week packaged in bamboo leaf boxes or wraps and hung on the central tree – to encourage users to try vegan. 
  • Long term aim for the supermarket to become vegan, further reducing its carbon footprint.
  • Branding to be bright and eye-catching with the name reflecting brand values.
Liz advising the students as they prepare their design

The Plymouth students collectively planned what to present, then paired off to complete visuals, a layout plan and branding. 

  • Supermarket to be called ‘Candor’ to reflect that product information is honest and easy to access. 
  • ‘Five a Day’ was chosen for the Vegan Cafe; to reflect the 5 meals offered and emphasis on fruit/ veg-based ingredients.

The result

The Plymouth team presenting their supermarket solution

At 4pm, each team had 5 minutes to present their designs. The judges were Harriet Forde, President of the BIID and Bertie Van Wyk, Workplace Specialist, Herman Miller. Their criteria:

  • High quality presentations
  • Innovative ideas 
  • Practical solutions. 

They were very impressed with Plymouth’s:

  • clear aims to make vegan meals appealing and easy 
  • the excellent idea to make the cafe a multipurpose space to reflect the different uses and people in the area throughout the week. 

Plymouth was awarded 2nd place – well done!!

Amazing work team!

Harriet Forde, President of the BIID commented: “Year on year we’re incredibly impressed by the creativity and original ideas from the design students involved in the challenge. The theme this year was incredibly relevant too, as our awareness of the environmental impact our supermarket shopping habits have, has increased massively. We hope that the competition has inspired and encouraged young designers to develop their careers and explore new ways of design thinking.”


With special thanks to the Plymouth team- 

Lead by Cathryn Bishop– Senior Lecturer and Subject Leader for the BA Hons Interior Decoration, Design and Styling course


See the great video below of Harriet giving feedback on the presentation:


If you are thinking about renovating your home, get in touch!