Mearns & Gill has managed the Offshore Achievement Awards (OAA) on behalf of the Society of Petroleum Engineers Aberdeen Section (SPE Aberdeen) for the past decade. As a celebration of talent and success within the UK oil, gas and renewables sectors, you might wonder how design students from Gray’s School of Art fit into the mix.
The Gray’s School of Art Trophy Competition
When OAA winners hear their name being called and walk up to that podium to collect their trophy, they’re greeted by something extraordinary. Each award handed out at the ceremony has been thoughtfully designed and crafted by a third-year product design student from Gray’s School of Art.
Gray’s became involved in the OAA very shortly after we began to manage the event. Over 100 students have been given this unique design brief, either as a voluntary project or as an integrated part of their curriculum, in the past ten years. And each year, we are blown away by what they present.
Given the opportunity to design and manufacture up to twelve award trophies, students receive a creative brief, a budget and a timeline. Within the timeline, they must present their concept to our trophy design judging panel and, following feedback from that panel, construct a prototype of their final design. The winner then has a set deadline for producing the required number of awards in time for the black-tie awards ceremony.
The live project allows the students to experience many different things, such as answering a creative brief, working to deadlines, and engaging 3rd party suppliers. But it also allows them to showcase their talent and other skills that will be essential for their future careers. Here are just some of the things we’re delighted to have seen students bringing to the table each year.
The students interpret the same design brief in so many different ways
Given that the end result of producing a set of trophies for the awards ceremony remains mostly the same each year, we can never quite believe how many different ideas come to the table and how all the trophy design entries look entirely different. Every. Single. Year. Often groups of students will begin with the same inspiration from researching the offshore industry. Their mood boards include images of waves, oil barrels, wind turbines, etc. And you’d think that with a dozen students all researching the same elements, you’d have at least some duplication of ideas. Not the case. When they unveil their concepts, it’s clear to see that they’ve let their imaginations run wild, presenting ideas that are genuinely unique to them.