Abbie O’Connor has proposed CoFundaments (Co) as a self-sustaining, green space for the community, where it is possible to make the whole product from design stage to end product in one location. Through the combination of design and science, Co offers a fundamental range of twenty-four garments and health-wellness products Grown-To-Order in its own laboratory. The future of lab-grown products ensures a low carbon footprint and allows consumers to see the whole product production in-store. The products and store interiors are made from recyclable and biodegradable materials, supporting circular systems. O’Connor notes:
“It is becoming increasingly apparent that consumers are seeking locally made products, with a desire for increased self-sufficiency within communities and wanting to share each other’s knowledge and creativity. With a rise of consumers relocating from the capital, London to the North such as Newcastle, we have built Co in a regenerative, urban village called Ouseburn that is the creative heart of Newcastle. It has a strong sense of community and energy that invites diverse, independent businesses. We offer the communal space to local makers for them to create and sell their products. Co is a collaborative project where co-creators from multi-disciplinary backgrounds merge to achieve sustainable design by working collectively.”
The open space at Co is divided up into three main areas: the store, co-lab and events space. Consumer and community well-being are at the forefront of Co through learning, creating, sharing, purchasing and relaxing. The app allows consumers to scan QR codes around the store, it provides traceable technology to learn about the products environmental impact and also purchase them through Co’s Grow-To-Order method.
During her placement year, Abbie O’Connor interned at leading London-based trend forecasting company, Unique Style Platform who specialise in womenswear, menswear and colour for the fashion and lifestyle industries. Her role involved in-depth primary and secondary research, identifying key takeaways of data to inform new trend concepts, written and visual content for their website and supporting the execution of marketing events, which have inspired the development of her graduate project. Also gaining an international perspective when working in the Netherlands, her second placement was at Dutch design studio EDHV, working on a wide range of projects including creating visual brand identities, rebranding image culture for a big client in the Dutch market, graphics, organising promotional goods for community events and social media.