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News release from: 09/11/2023

Winners of children’s furniture design competition at Melbourn Science Park

Winners of children’s furniture design competition at Melbourn Science Park

Bruntwood SciTech, the UK’s largest specialist property provider dedicated to the growth of the science, technology and innovation sector, has unveiled the winners of a STEM competition for new street furniture designed by Melbourn Primary School pupils.

The new bespoke furniture features prominently within both the campus at Melbourn Science Park and the school as features that will be available for the local community and businesses based there to enjoy.

The winning designers, five year-six pupils from Melbourn Primary School, attended an unveiling ceremony where they had their first look at their designs transformed into real-life outdoor furniture at the Park. The designs even include a bench shaped like a dog!

The children were joined by pupils from Melbourn Village College at the event.

Each winning designer unveiled their one-of-a-kind design in front of an audience consisting of South Cambridgeshire District councillors including Cllr Jose Hales, Cllr Sally Ann Hart and Cllr Dr Susan van de Ven.

Also attending was the Chief Executive of South Cambridgeshire District Council Liz Watts and the Deputy Director for Planning Heather Jones.

The team who co-planned the initiative led the unveiling of the benches with Dr Bonnie Kwok, Principle Urban Designer at Greater Cambridge Shared Planning’s Youth Engagement Team hosting the ceremony which included hearing from Aline Charpentier, Head of Innovation at Bruntwood SciTech.

A Melbourn pupil on his winning dog benchPlanit-IE, specialist landscape designers, translated the winning designs into technical drawings for SCD Ltd to commission. The event was followed by an afternoon workshop on biodiversity for the Year 7 pupils at Melbourn Village College, hosted by the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Team.

This echoes Bruntwood SciTech’s own sustainability mission, which promises to ensure all of their new developments are in line with Net Zero Carbon targets published by LETI.

Sixty pupils aged between 9and 11 took part in the furniture design competition, launched in December 2022, as part of a series of events to engage pupils on architecture, town planning, urban design and biodiversity, in collaboration between Melbourn Primary School, Bruntwood SciTech, Sheppard Robson Architects and Planit-IE.

A Melbourn student sits on his rainbow bench at the Science ParkActivities included hands-on sessions led by Planit-IE, an urban design class led by the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Youth Engagement Team , and a quiz on STEM innovation in collaboration with Bruntwood SciTech, who own and operate nine science and technology campuses and 31 city centre innovation hubs around the UK, including Melbourn Science Park.

The STEM competition asked pupils to design their own dream park furniture in a theme of their choice, and could be made with any material or shape.

The five winning designs have now been made into fully functional furniture and will be installed both at Melbourn Science Park as part of its redevelopment, and at Melbourn Primary School.

Matt Humphries, Community Manager for Melbourn Science Park at Bruntwood SciTech - a partnership between Bruntwood, Legal & General, and Greater Manchester Pension Fund - said: "We have fantastic grounds at the Park and very much encourage the local community to visit and enjoy them. Thanks to the exceptionally talented and creative young designers at Melbourn Primary School who have worked so hard on this project, we're excited to add a selection of fun and unique outdoor furniture for visitors to enjoy! We want this project to be the first of many, and for every child to feel inspired by STEM, and realise that it could be an exciting career opportunity for them."

Cllr Dr. Tumi Hawkins, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Planning said: “Thank you to the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Youth Engagement Team for another inspirational event, ensuring the participation of our next generation of planners and facilitating the creation of imaginative outdoor furniture that will stand the test of time. With our Statement of Community Involvement consultation in progress, it is essential that we engage with our young people and other under-represented groups. We want to ensure that as many people as possible can participate in and share their views and aspirations for the future development of Greater Cambridge. Looking at the wonderful benches and the work of the children of Melbourn, I am certain that this event will long be remembered.”

A Melbourn student unveils her winning bench design at the Science ParkCllr Jose Hales, local member for Melbourn, said: “This amazing event inspired our next generation to get involved in the planning process and have fun along the way. The benches designed by the children were so imaginative and the sausage dog that barks when you turn a handle was a definite hit! 

"Thank you to the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Youth Engagement team, the developers Bruntwood SciTech, and all the children for their wonderful creativity.”

Cllr Sally Ann Hart, local member for Melbourn, said: “What a wonderful day for all!  It felt great to witness the enthusiasm on the faces of the children from the Melbourn Primary School as the benches were unveiled and I don't believe they ever thought their ideas would be delivered. I was also really impressed with the Year 7 students contributions throughout the discussions during the morning session - the level of planning and resourcing for the learning was excellent and we really are inspiring the next generation of planners.”

Dr Bonnie Kwok, Principal Urban Designer, Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Design Review Panel Manager and Youth Engagement Lead, said: “Bruntwood SciTech is an exemplar developer in their collaboration with local councils and communities. This project has inspired children to think creatively, pursue careers they might otherwise never have thought of or known about, and we have loved seeing their amazing designs come to life as functional seatware across Melbourn. I hope the children will be proud to know that their artwork is here to stay for generations to come.”

Tom Fenner, Project Manager at SDC Ltd, who hand-crafted the benches with his team, said: “It has been our pleasure to work within this great community over the past few years and we were delighted to be able to help with this project."

A Mel bourn student unveils her wining bench design at the Science ParkHe continued: "The whole team at Survey Design and Construction Ltd  has thoroughly enjoyed it!

"The designs are fantastic and were a pleasure to build from the technical drawings Planit-IT created from the sketches.

"The dog bench for example, originates from Melbourn Science Park, because it was created from a tree that  was felled due to ill health, and was carved only a few miles away by local chainsaw artist Lisa Langley.

"We hope they provide lots of joy to those who use them. These benches and our passion for this project demonstrate our commitment to Melbourn and so we want to say a big thank you to the whole community.”