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designedbynicola Portfolio

My name is Nicola Murphy, and I am currently studying Furniture and Product Design at Nottingham Trent University. +44 (0) 7425143629

Tilt. A multi-functional desk light, designed as part of a collaboration project with Strate Design School in Paris. This light is designed for those with a small living space and thus need a light that can be used in a variety of ways depending on the situation. In collaboration with:

the multi-functional desk light


Research and inspiration came from small living spaces and the need for easily adjustable free-standing lighting, and the changing of light distribution. Big enough to hold in one hand, which can be easily moved around, depending on the location and occasion.

Ideation & Development.

Development and ideation of the light, had to happen quickly due to short duration of this project, only having 2 days to finalise the design. Making quick models was the easiest way of quick development.

Click to see the featured article

Lying Down...

Stood Up...

...Or Hanging.

Trestle Storage Collection. Briefed to design a product or collection, around the modern homeware market, looking at the latest trends and inspiration. The trestle collection is inspired by the trestle ladder, designed as a static piece of storage with accent of colour, to offset the use of the natural oak throughout the collection. Supported by:

restle sideboard


Starting the research into micro living, in particular in city centres such as London, where there is a high density of cosmopolitans living in rental properties. Along with that, comes of a lot of owners using a lot of free standing furnishes.

Ideation & Development.

A large part of the development came from making 1:10 models to get an idea of proportion and scale. Starting the model making off with broad concepts, and narrowing it in with making minor adjustments here and there.

Mortise & Tennon ladder joinery

Grooved shelving locators

Spray Lacquered Sliding Panel Adjustable housed Sliding Panel

Made out of European Oak, crown cut veneered panels, with an accent coloured panel, with the ladder part being solid oak.

Smart Cycling Helmet. The purpose of this product is to help reduce the rate of serious head injuries among commuters in large cities such as London. Using a combination of smart materials, that work together to create a helmet, and therefore reduce the injury to the brain on impact. Designed around:

Cycling helmet designed with concussion at mind


The research that was undertaken, gave me a lot of information not just concussion in cycling, but also in other high-impact sports such as rugby. Which gave a lot of scope to develop a helmet, which uses a combination of features that have proven to help prevent concussion/ or a serious head injury.

Ideation & Development.

Kevlar and shear-thickening liquid outer-shell Further hardening on impact, the colour changing element highlighting the area of impact.

Size adjustment Adjusting the helmet to securely fit the users head.

Koroyd absorbent padding A highly absorbent material, used to absorb the shock on impact.

The graphene neck support Is a supportive neck material, used to help the potentially weak joint between the top of the spin and skull.

Adjustable nylon chin strap Which can be easily removed by the paramedics, using the magnetic strap.

On impact, the helmet materials property change, including the area of impact change colour. If a cyclist should need medical attention for a head injury the medical professionals will be able to see at a glance the main area of impact.

Wa Harmony Tea Caddy. This project is based around a personal research project, I chose to look at the Social Conventions of Tea, in different cultures, portraying this within 3 different objects that must be able to be used together. Using the idea of portability and tea on the go to develop a tea caddy, aimed to help people take a break from their busy lives.


Designed for Harmony Tea, on the go


Along with this project came a research report surrounding different tea rituals in the Chinese/ Japanese cultures. Identifying key areas that play a large part in their daily tea rituals, including how the tea is made and served. The idea of making my own tea bricks came from how large quantities of tea was initially transported between China and Japan.

Ideation & Development.

The development came from a mixture of 3D and 2D model making to help generate the final idea. Learning a new process of slip-casting it was important that I understood this process so that this could be implemented within the designing process.

Product Storyboard.

Go outside in the fresh air...

Boil the water in the kettle...

Forage for sticks and twigs for the fire...

Once the tea has been brewed, pour into the tea bowls...

Create the fire in the fire-pit...

Enjoy the outside, and socialise...

Click to watch the promotion video

‘TAM’ The Pull out Sofa Bed. In a collaboration Project with Springvale Leisure, being tasked with redesigning the sofa bed that could extend to a size of a double bed for a static home or caravan. This project was a collaboration project with another student on Furniture and Product Design. Supported by:

the pull-out sofa bed


The mechanism is made up of a triple extension runner, bespokely made to the sofa itself. When the front of the sofa is pull out, the slates come with it, and therefore extend into a full-sized double bed.

Ideation & Development.

Product Storyboard.

Deciding that sofa needs to be turned into a sofa bed, is quick and easy.

Starts by the futon being untied from around the sofa, in order to take the weight of the slates for it be pulled out smoothly.

Pull out slates, they will extend from the sling in the back of the sofa.

Once the bed is fully extended, the futon can be placed on top and the bed can be made.

Before collapsing the sofa, the futon and all bedding needs to be removed. Carefully push the bed inwards- the slates will gather and fall into the sling at the back.

The futon can be replaced on the sofa and re-tied.

All-in-one. These are an ‘all-in-one’ kitchen scales. The purpose of this product is to minimise the space needed to store a set of scales. Joseph Joseph, are a brand who mix aesthetic and function well, in clear and simple ways. Designed around:


All-in-one Bakers Nesting Scales


Research how people use their scales, and discovering that a lot people use it when baking. Along with most baking recipes they tend to have multiple ingredients. This tends to come down to the users organisation and preparation to the recipe. Gave me a starting ground for the initial concepts.

Ideation & Development.

Polypropylene mixing bowl The mixing bowl allowed for easy storage of all other components and as the main preparation bowl.

Silicone measuring bowls The silicone measuring bowls are used to prepare ingredients prior to cooking/ baking.

Scale base The scales have digital display, with an interchangeable metric and imperial modes depending on the user preferences. Rather than the scales being battery powered they are rechargeable through mains power, with 1 hour of charge lasting 9 hours.

Wine Rack Donkey. In a collaboration Project with ISOKON Plus, we were tasked with redesigning the donkey, using the styling of the original ISOKON Donkey’s. The Donkey that I have designed is based around the storing of wine, and the instruments to go along side, including the glasses, bottles and other utensils. Supported by:

Wine Rack Donkey


With the UK, becoming a large drinker of red wine, lead to the analysis of storage and scenerios of which people drink wine. With a lot of people tending to drink wine in the evenings sometimes with a book, this lead to development of the donkey not only holding wine bottles and glasses but also magazine/ book stroage for items as big as a broadsheet newspaper.

Ideation & Development.

343 mm

350 mm

Development and ideation of the Donkey, was mainly carried out in sketch 1:10 models to generate quick initial ideas. This slowly developed into 1:1 models which allowed the minor details to be discovered.

537 mm




Photography. Photography is a keen interest of mine, taking photos whilst travelling allows to keep memories of the trip, as well as using photography as inspiration for projects. +44 (0) 7425143629

I am an enthusiastic designer who approaches every new project as a challenge, throughout the design process continuously learning new skills to help me improve my work. Skills. Model Making Sketching Project Management Leadership Photography

Furniture and Product Design Portfolio  

This is my current portfolio of work, spanning over first and second year of university. As well as my own personal work.

Furniture and Product Design Portfolio  

This is my current portfolio of work, spanning over first and second year of university. As well as my own personal work.