Tuesday 14 June 2016

Raluca Babau

Help is at hand for hot-deskers who despair at having to use germ-ridden, impersonal communal work spaces – thanks to an award-winning design from a University of Northampton student.

Interior Design undergraduate, Raluca Babau, has just scooped a prestigious global design award for MyO – a satchel which unfolds into a personalised workspace, designed for people who hot-desk.

Watch a video of Raluca’s MyO here:

Short for My Office, MyO is designed to hold an in-built computer with flexible screen and rubber keyboard, plus plenty of storage for documents, lunch, gadgets and stationery. It can also be orientated to suit both right and left-handed people, while the inside can be printed to any design or colour the user wishes.

Raluca’s MyO has scooped the RBS Award for the Best Design Product in the 2016 RSA Student Design Awards – the longest-running global student competition which challenges emerging designers to tackle real-world social, environmental and economic issues.

Raluca is in fine company, with previous RSA winners including Apple Design Chief, Jonathan Ive, leading industrial designer, Paul Priestman, and renowned fashion designer, Betty Jackson.

In addition to £2,500 prize money, she has also been granted Fellowship to the Royal Society of Arts.

“Hot-desking is an environment that is impersonal and can be unhygienic – I spoke to some people who work in a hot-desking environment and they told me they spend the first few minutes of their day cleaning the desk and communal keyboard,” said Raluca.

“It feels a bit weird to go in to work and not know where you are going to sit, and every day you might be sitting alongside different people, so to have your own hygienic, personal space, can really help.

“The MyO is a solution that lets you have your own personalised space in a place where you are not supposed to, and I think having your own personalised space can enhance the productivity of workers.”

She added: “While the prize money is nice and will help me develop MyO, the main thing for me was winning the award as it’s so prestigious, and will hopefully help me to get a job when I graduate.

“I was really excited when I found out that I had won the award, and I actually started crying.”

Susan Jacobs, Senior Lecturer in Interior Design, said: “The Interior Design staff team is immensely proud of Raluca’s achievements.

“Her professionalism and dedication to her studies have enabled her to achieve success, not only in the RSA competition, but also her studies, gaining a first-class honours degree.

“Economic factors and information technology are reshaping the work place environment. MyO allows for a personalised and affordable solution that supports a hot-desking and nomadic work practice which encourages ‘creative conditions’, enjoyment and wellbeing in the workplace.”

Raluca’s MyO will be exhibited at the Free Range showcase, in London. It will then move to the New Designers show, also in the capital, along with the work of graduating Product Design students from the University.

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