In response to the 4 week brief: Changing Populations, I and a fellow designer had the pleasure of chatting to and co-designing a pair of walking sticks with our mentor, Rory.

Over the course of the project, we discussed what Rory sees in walking sticks and how he views them as tools, functional and reliable. As a sailor and an all-round practical guy, he saw the design of his sticks reflecting this identity.

Through workshops and discussions, I and a fellow designer created a pair of sticks each to match Rory’s identity, specifications and active lifestyle.

Through continued discussion and chats, I developed plans for a pair of sticks which tied into his active sailing identity as well as retaining most of the functional aspects he needs for his sticks to be useful.

The result is a pair of aluminium sticks, complete with anti-shock mechanisms, replaceable springs and ferrules with an NFC/RFID library card in the handle. The graphics running down the stick are representative of the inner mechanisms with a custom name-based ‘sports logo’ at the top to mark them as uniquely his
Through the creation of workshops and activities, we developed concepts based on his requirements for his sticks, his vision of how they could and should look and the features he would like to experiment with. Challenging his desire for technical-functional aspects over elements he feels represent him and his style, we ran a stick creation workshop to understand how he relates to materials and how he feels about his sticks in different scenarios.

The making process of Rory’s Sticks was a complicated but rewarding challenge.
The handle, was carved from a pine blank, moulded in silicone and cast in black plastic to create a pair of identical custom handles.
The mechanism required specific springs, bolts and a 3D printed insert to allow the stick to depress with a good resistance - reducing shock when walking.
The graphics were made from laser cut stencils, applied to the aluminium and spray painted and spray gloss coated to protect and add shine.
Lastly, an NFC sticker was placed in the handle, to create a mock-interaction of adding a library card to the stick.