Home > News > Archive > 6th September 2007

Design talent bearing fruit

Courtesy of Te Awamutu Courier
Chris Metcalfe
Chris Metcalfe back home in Te Awamutu with his fruit ‘bol’.

By Cathy Asplin

Chris Metcalfe has just had a $10,000 boost to his design career with the winning of an AMP Scholarship.

In all 13 AMP scholarships were presented in Wellington last week and rewarded a raft of talented people from around the country.

Chris (22) has a desire to become a professional product designer and, judging by the success of his fruit ‘bol’, he is well on the way to achieving that dream.

After leaving Te Awamutu College Chris completed a product design degree at Unitec in Auckland, where he developed a number of items. One was the ‘bol’ which he created in response to a class project entitled ‘on the table or on the move’.

“I thought you take fruit from a tree - so why not put it back into a tree with a bowl that has ‘branches’."

The fruit bowl is a spherical creation that expands out as fruit are added and can be folded back to a shape that is reminiscent of an apple core. The pieces are all the same and there is no glue used in its creation - it is held together with bands. The original version is in wood, while the latest version to hit the production line is plastic polycarbonate and available in a number of colours.

Another of his inventions ‘The World Crutch’ was developed through a class project intended to assist leg-injury victims in the Third World. His version of a crutch is simply two adjustable plastic handles which lock onto a bamboo pole - providing a cheap form of assistance for those in need. Chris isn’t thinking of profit from this design - he believes The World Crutch has huge humanitarian potential.

“Bamboo is an abundant resource in many poor countries, making it an ideal material for the crutch. The plastic handles would cost less than two dollars each to manufacture so could be sponsored or distributed by charitable aid organisations.”

Chris was one of four to make it to the finals of the Dyson Product Design Awards which were held earlier this year. The $10,000 AMP scholarship Chris has just received will allow him to develop and market his commercial products.

He has several in the pipeline including a platter and a form of lighting. Some of his items are already stocked in Auckland
stores (see www.essenze.co.nz to view the‘bol’) and he is looking to expand those outlets both in New Zealand and overseas. His ultimate dream is to design items focussing on sustainable design and manufacturing processes, while maintaining a high level of integrity.

AMP managing director and chair of the judging panel, Greg Camm says all of the AMP scholarship winners are people committed to following their dreams and being successful.

“These people stood out from almost 800 who applied because of their willingness to use their talents and do the very best they can - both on a personal level and for the wider community,” Mr Camm says.