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Cell Furniture: new designs for safety, wellbeing and sustainability

Cell Furniture: new designs for safety, wellbeing and sustainability

Final year students from Central Saint Martins’ product design course are developing experimental prison cell furniture designs.

The designs aim to generate a range that is not only robust and sustainable, but also helps to create a decent environment for prisoners and prison staff.

The Cell Furniture project comes from the Design Against Crime Research Centre (DACRC) at Central Saint Martins, and is part of an 18-month design research project which started last summer in collaboration with Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS), with funding from its Innovation Grant.

Cell Furniture is the product of a collaborative design approach that has involved prisoners and prison staff with diverse experiences, with the aim of developing furniture designs that could be manufactured inside prison.

From the outset we were clear that the best sustainable design solutions would come from a collaborative approach and that this ‘co-design’ work must fully engage prisoners – as after all they would be expected to live with it, as well as prison officers, Prison Governors and the manufacturing team.”
Jason Swettenham, Head of Prison Industries, HMPPS

In Spring 2019, a life size cell was built in the studio at Central Saint Martins with actual furniture from prison for the students to conduct user-centred research and test their designs. DACRC director, Professor Gamman said “we made the cell as an immersion, empathy experience” to give students “constant access to a realistic cell environment, which obviously is not practical in an actual prison.”

Next year, DACRC and HMPPS will showcase the final results of Cell Furniture.

You can see a showcase of initial findings from Cell Furniture at the Central Saint Martins Degree Show Two: Design, from 18th – 23rd June 2019.

Image courtesy of DACRC