Product gives urban stress the bullet

Otago Polytechnic design student Ross McFadden with his bullet bottle opener, Urban Survival. Photo by Jane Dawber.
Otago Polytechnic design student Ross McFadden with his bullet bottle opener, Urban Survival. Photo by Jane Dawber.
It is not often that bullets are designed for comfort.

But for a Waimate farm boy, who is not used to the hustle and bustle of big city life, a .30-06 big game rifle bullet is the key to his comfort in the "urban jungle".

Ross McFadden is a second-year bachelor of design (product) student at Otago Polytechnic and has spent the past 10 weeks fashioning large calibre rifle shells into nifty beer bottle openers.

"I'm a country boy. I used to get freaked out just walking around the supermarket - I'm not used to the confined spaces, all the people, the noise."

Mr McFadden said he was more at home in the remote hills surrounding Waimate, where he likes to go deerstalking.

"Sometimes, the world we live in becomes too distant from nature. So this [bottle opener] gives the ability to escape from your concrete jungle into the vast beauty of the wilderness."

While the "Urban Survival" product provides him with a level of comfort in the supermarket, marketing the product to local retailers in a dragons' den-style sales pitch at the Otago Polytechnic yesterday did not.

He was one of about a dozen second-year design students who were grilled by potential buyers and distributors of their products, about how they were made, manufacturing costs and their ability to produce large quantities.

Other product designs presented to the judges included chopping boards made of reclaimed wood from the Christchurch earthquake, doily brooches, fridge magnets and iPod stickers.

Design lecturer Machiko Niimi said the students had 10 weeks to design, manufacture and brand a unique product, which could be sold for $20 to $40.

The students were asked "to sell an experience as much as a product, and there really is an interesting story behind each of the creations", she saidMs Niimi said some students teamed up with local businesses, such as Farra Engineering, Brandwell Moller and Otago Polytechnic's Innovation WorkSpace, to manufacture their products.

"It's been fantastic for the students to work with these businesses and see their creative dreams realised," she said.