Ceramic design company praised for innovative University collaboration


A ceramic design company which draws on the talents of students at Staffordshire University has scooped a national award for its innovative approach to business.

Flux, was launched as a University spin-out company in 2011 and its contemporary mix and match bone china is now being sold through prestige retail outlets in 20 countries worldwide.

A winner of the Ceramic & Glass Design category at the prestigious Homes and Gardens Designer Awards 2012, Flux has now been announced as one of just five winners at PraxisUnico’s Impact Awards.

PraxisUnico is an influential network which drives the commercialisation of academic and public sector research and knowledge transfer.

Speaking after the awards ceremony in Nottingham last week, Staffordshire University Deputy Vice-Chancellor Paul Richards said: “Flux is a unique business model which utilises both our students and our manufacturing base and to have won a nationally recognised award is of real significance given that our competition was research-intensive Universities working with multi-national companies.

“This engagement with student design talent and business partners was specifically highlighted by Professor Sir Tim Wilson – Chair of the judging panel – as an exemplar of the next step forward in University and business collaboration.”

The ‘special recognition’ award follows the commercial success of Flux at a succession of Paris trade fairs and Stoke’s British Ceramics Biennial (BCB). Following initial interest in the product, the University entered into partnership with Longton-based Duchess China which manufactures the bone china products which are then decorated with Flux distinctive cobalt-blue, gold and platinum designs.

Professor David Sanderson said he was delighted that the Flux brand, rooted in the University’s MA Ceramic Design course, is also impacting positively on Stoke-on-Trent’s reputation for producing world-class ceramics.

Professor Sanderson added: “Flux has successfully come through its incubation period, its designs have been well received and demand for the project has exceeded all expectations. Commercially as a brand it is showing great potential.

“The contemporary global market for high value tabletop products with the provenance of ‘made in England’ is gaining momentum – it’s great for Stoke-on-Trent and for the University.”