Design: Connecting the Old Economy with the New

Michael Korn & Denis Anscomb
Design Fellows 2010

Michael Korn & Denis Anscomb
Design Fellows 2010

KwickScreen is a portable, retractable room divider that provides a robust partition almost instantly. It is a brilliantly simple yet patented-protected design that utilises advanced material composites to give the product its strength when extended. It has multiple uses including isolating infected patients in hospital wards, providing short-term teaching spaces in school gyms or delineating project groups in open-plan office environments.

It was designed by Michael Korn who was awarded an 1851 fellowship to study Industrial Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College after having studied Manufacturing Engineering at Cambridge. Michael and his business partner Denis Anscomb were further supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851 as they developed this design and invention in to a thriving business whilst they were 2010 Design Fellows.  This research fellowship was about bridging the gap between the old and new economies.  With the KwickScreen as an exemplar Michael and Denis have shown how a British invented and designed product can be successfully developed and manufactured in the UK.  In the spirit of 1851 Michael has designed the product and the means of its production.  Keeping production in the UK enabled quick development of the product in the early days and now reduces lead time and logistics whilst also making it easier to control product quality.

 

The initial market focus for the KwickScreen was UK healthcare and the product has now been adopted by over 100 NHS Trusts for use across a range of different treatments. KwickScreen has since found other markets including education, work space and retail and is sold in over 10 different countries across the world including a fast growing operation in the US.  Most KwickScreens are ordered with a custom image printed on the screen as they are being used to bring art and colour into otherwise bland environments.

The product has won multiple awards including the James Dyson UK Design Award 2011 and the Building Better Healthcare Award for most innovative product 2012. Michael himself was made Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 and the company won the Best UK Startup in the LloydsTSB Enterprise Awards 2012.

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