The Spearhead Group Sponsors Upcycling Design Project with Ibero University, Mexico City

Patricia Burguete, Founder & Managing Director, Spearhead Mexico, has not only collaborated to build new innovative Pioneer relationships in Mexico but has worked closely with Ibero University, Mexico City, on an exclusive sponsorship of an upcycling design project.

In late 2020, Patricia presented a design brief to the University and worked together to present the project to participating students in 2021. The project, placed within the curriculum of second-year and fourth-year students, features a creative upcycling element of PVC rods recovered from industrial processes. Students will create and design a DIY project using these rods, along with common and accessible materials.

“From the launch of The Spearhead Group, one of our main goals was to approach things differently, challenging the status quo and disrupting how and why particular practices have been done,” said Robert Catalano, Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of The Spearhead Group. “In this case, working closely with students to study new ways to look at production dunnage, find and possibly create positive socially impactful uses for these, is exactly to that core value. We are proud to continue to support student’s creative development while maybe creating a new upcycling practice that has never been implemented before.”

The program presents two main challenges: 1. Develop connector solutions for the rods applying existing items or solutions, so they can be joined together without creating additional items or materials; 2. Develop an item that promotes the reuse or upcycling of other materials, makes the most efficient use of the rods by avoiding cutting sections that will not be used, and can be offered as a DIY product. Additionally, students will take into consideration designing to fit all incomes and ways of life, from people living in remote communities to people living in cities. They were asked to design for practicality, but also attractiveness. The project allows students to stretch their innovative ideas from shelving to home improvement items and beyond.

By utilizing a maximum of 50 rods per individual or team, the second-year students must research, design, and create prototypes or actual items. Fourth-year students are also required to design a marketing/business plan for their product, as well as proposals of ways to generate income; income generation ideas could be in the form of sell one/give one, or other creative ideas.  The rods project will be part of the second-year students’ Spring term academic curriculum, and a Spring term-long project for the fourth-year students who will be working in teams comprised of the different branches of design. COVID restrictions have added additional challenges to the development of these projects; with an online-only contact between teachers and students and no access to the university’s Design labs, both students and teachers have to apply extra creativity to sharing and applying solutions for building the items they design while working exclusively from home.

“The opportunity to work together with IBERO and the students on this innovative design program is inspiring. Students’ creativity can bring unique ideas to the development and re-use of products, and they will benefit from the experience of working on a real-life project” says Patricia Burguete, Spearhead Group. “We look forward to the creative ideas that are developed from this program, and to building a relationship with IBERO.”

Students will present their final projects to the University and the Spearhead Group at the end of the semester. The Spearhead Group will consider investing in the development and production of the most innovative solutions.

Ibero University, Mexico City
Ibero University, Mexico City is one of the country’s private leading academic and research institutions. It offers students a unique educational experience through its community of faculty, alumni and professionals dedicated to real-world learning. Established over 70 years ago, Ibero University, Mexico City is one of the nation’s first private universities and was the first Industrial Design school in Mexico. Drawing on the legacy of improving themselves every year, they provide rigorous programs of research and study preparing students for life, educating the whole person through exposure to different faiths, cultures and beliefs.