Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Students Cook Up Design Treat for AGA

AGA cast iron cookers
 In summer 2009 AGA Rangemaster plc, parent to AGA, the cast iron cooker company, set MA Product Design students at the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design (BIAD) a challenge  - to design a concept AGA cast iron night storage radiator in one week, fulfilling the following objectives –
  1.Presenting a fresh, new product message to the current target market
  2. Creating a new revenue through expansion into cast iron night storage radiators
  3.   Increasing interest with customers already aware of the brand
  4.   Increasing awareness of the brand, with a focus on stimulating interest from new customer segments.
The design specifically needed to utilise night storage electricity, have the same design aesthetic and principles as AGA cookers and be an efficient and effective source of heat.
The winning design student was promised a work placement at AGA.
For students involved in this one week design challenge a steep learning curve followed. 

2009 MA Product Design Students visit
 AGA factory in Ketley, Telford

After receipt of the design brief students visited a combination of AGA retail outlets and factories – the AGA foundry in Coalbrookdale and the factory in Ketley, Telford and received a lecture on ferrous metals.
MA Product Design Students working up
AGA Heat Storage radiators for competition

The students were responsible for the production of their concept designs which were made in the BIAD workshops. 

On completion AGA directors attended an Exhibition of the completed concepts – five days after presenting the MA Product Design students with the competition brief.

Yu-Chein, Lui, AGA Heat Storage Radiator, Winning Concept
Design focussed on flexible use of heat storage radiator in bathrooms and elsewhere

Tassilo Neumann, AGA Heat Storage Radiator, Winning Concept
Design providing seating and storage for shoes and other items

AGA Directors were so impressed by the quality of the designs they selected two winners to take up placements  - Tassilo Neumann and Yu-Chein, Lui – winning designs pictured above.

William McGrath
AGA Rangemaster plc
Group Chief Executive
On viewing the work Group Chief Executive, AGA Rangemaster plc, William McGrath said,  “Our AGA design and marketing team set the MA Product Design students at Birmingham City University a brief to come up with ten new product proposals for potential AGA night storage heaters.
“The results, amazingly produced in only 3 days, really impressed us and will no doubt stimulate further debate and development in the near future.
“We are delighted to be able to offer the two ‘best’ students work placements at our company too, although we would like to congratulate all the students on the quality of their designs.”

Both winners, Tassilo Neumann and Yu-Chein, Lui, were tasked during their week-long placement at AGA to working together to propose a new cooker concept that might be produced at the Rangemaster factory from steel, whilst still retaining the AGA cooker's (cast iron) aesthetic and values. The concept produced (below) greatly impressed the AGA team.

Tassilo Neumann Placement Project Concept AGA Cooker

MA Product Design Student submissions for the AGA Heat Storage Radiator Concept Design Competition -

Judith Genster AGA Heat Storage Radiator Concept
Design providing drying for herbs, spices, foods and accessories

Brian Peers AGA Heat Storage Radiator Concept
heater with drying rail

Szu-Jung Yu AGA Heat Storage Radiator Concept
Design providing convenient internal drying space

Jon Cumberpatch AGA Heat Storage Radiator Concept
Providing heat storage 'drawers' which can be withdrawn and moved around the home

Amy Blackwell AGA Heat Storage Radiator Concept
heat storage cavities together with heated trays

Fan Shoating AGA Heat Storage Radiator Concept
the 'AGA Pet' - ready to move with its owners from room to room

Chih-Kai Huang AGA Heat Storage Radiator concept
Heated seat with drying or heating space for shoes and other items

Chan Solanki, AGA Heat Storage Radiator concept

For further information about the project and/or the MA Product Design course at BIAD contact  and on twitter

For Further information about AGA Rangemaster plc visit

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