Designing Irish take aim at purses, countertops, landfills

Author: Ed Cohen

The world is looking to Notre Dame students for coins, waste baskets and maybe even the next great washing machine.

Earlier this year, an art design student took first place in a national competition with his idea for a self-bagging waste-basket system. The United States Mint selected a senior majoring in marketing and art to help design future coins. And Electrolux, the world’s largest household appliance maker, picked Notre Dame’s Department of Art, Art History and Design to represent the United States in an international industrial design competition.

Electrolux chose eight schools from eight different countries for its Global Design Laboratory 2004. The students’ task will be to come up with ideas for cooking, laundry, refrigeration and dishwashing appliances. Notre Dame industrial design students will be collaborating with MBA students from the Mendoza College of Business. Final judging was scheduled for October in New York City.

Pat Quill, a senior this past year who did illustration work for The Observer, was one of six students selected from 306 applicants to become an associate designer for the Mint. According to the student newspaper, the six will work with 18 professional Master Designers to develop future designs for state quarters. Quill told the paper the job is part-time and will last two years. He said he will be paid $500 for each design he submits and an additional $500 for each that is accepted.

In March, Brad Jolitz, a junior this past year, exhibited a prototype of his Re-Bag waste-basket system at the 2004 International Home & Housewares Show in Chicago. The concept won the $3,000 first prize in the national student design competition sponsored by the International Housewares Association.

The Re-Bag system consists of a sheet of polyethylene that rolls up into a tube. Connecting tabs lock the sheet into a cylindrical shape. Specially designed biodegradable plastic bags are manufactured so that each is contained within another—in essence, a bag of bags. The bags anchor to the inside of the plastic cylinder through slits. When one bag is full the user simply lifts it up, while standing on the two convenient foot pedals that keep the can from lifting with it. The replacement bag is already positioned