Temple & Webster has partnered with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) School of Built Environment to innovate its bedroom product range.

The program has seen a number of student designs being chosen by the online furniture and homewares retailer for potential development and retail across Australia. In addition, two of the final year industrial design students have been chosen for internships.

In March, seven students from the fourth year Industrial Design Honours Program were challenged to create product concepts that answered the question, ‘How might Temple & Webster reimagine bedroom furniture to elevate sleep quality, nurture wellbeing, and adapt to the evolving needs of Australians?’ These concepts were then presented to Temple & Webster’s design and product development team.

Temple & Webster head of design and product development, Roger Wei said, “We’re thrilled to be able to support the next generation of designers and offer them real-world experiences of what it’s like to work in the online retail industry. We’ve been blown away by the innovative thinking and quality of the responses and hope to bring a number of them to life for these talented students. As a retail business, this project has brought new design perspectives to our team, which is extremely valuable in meeting the needs of Australians through our products.”

“Our team scours the globe for the latest design trends, collaborating with international industry bodies, researchers, and suppliers. Partnering with UNSW has enabled us to share our expertise with the next generation of homegrown talent and tap into a cohort brimming with innovative ideas.”

Temple & Webster was able to give students real-world experiences that provide them with a genuine advantage in the marketplace, according to UNSW School of Built Environment senior lecturer and discipline director of industrial design, Dr Mariano Ramirez.

“Our process to select industry partners is guided by alignment to our education goals which are innovation, commitment to sustainability and real-world impact, all things retailers look for in their own teams,” he said.

“We seek partners who share our commitment to these values and who can offer tangible learning experiences that complement our academic rigour. The partnership with Temple & Webster was particularly compelling due to their leadership in the online furniture and homewares market and their commitment to design excellence.”

Student and recently appointed Temple & Webster intern, Matthew Rajchert (above), recognises the opportunity for the partnership to provide retailers with emerging talent: “Entering into any career can be challenging, so I’m thrilled to have a pathway into a role in industrial design. Partnerships like this are invaluable in helping students develop essential aspects of their careers beyond the classroom, advancing skills and gaining a deep understanding of business imperatives and networking. 

“On the other hand, graduates introduce fresh perspectives to these workplaces, which is especially important for engaging with younger audiences.”

Rajchert and fellow UNSW student, Hongjun Qian will join the Temple & Webster design and product development team as interns for 120 hours across their final year second term and gain experience in product development across research, concepting, feasibility testing, production and sales.

Feature image: UNSW Advanced Studio convenor, Ed Ko, UNSW Industrial Design program senior lecturer, Dr Mariano Ramirez and director, Matt Lobb, Temple & Webster buyer, Sarah Nicholas and Temple & Webster head of design and product development, Roger Wei with UNSW students.