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Furniture and product design student from Bury St Edmunds has six seating designs selected for production

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Furniture design student Ben Whittaker has designed six innovative seats for a leading manufacturer.

Ben, 20, from Bury St Edmunds has been on a six month work placement while studying Furniture and Product design at Nottingham Trent University.

Six of his designs have been accepted by Sui Generis in Colchester for its GeoMet collection.

Ben Whittaker on his Urban design seat (8051921)
Ben Whittaker on his Urban design seat (8051921)

The company is well known for its colourful and contemporary modular seating, planters and water features which have been on show at the RHS Royal Chelsea Flower Show and Wembley Park in London.

Ben hopes to set up his own furniture design studio. He created more than 100 designs which were whittled down to his top 15 and, after meetings with staff at Sui Generis, the final six were chosen.

Among them were Urban, a contemporary clean lined composite base seat topped with wooden slats and Arc, a colourful modular seating which fits together to create a circular design. This is ideal for a child friendly environment. Other designs from Ben included Cubist, Pompidou and Twist.

Ben said: "I was tasked to design a new module for Sui Generis's current range. I was given free rein over what I designed, but I wanted to give a new look and style which also complements the existing range. It's a student's dream to see your designs go from paper to production.

" My work experience with Sui Generis has been an amazing opportunity. I've been supported every step of the way and I've learned so much. I've worked in the factory with the seating teams and helped create the final moulds for the composite seats. It's also been really interesting selecting the wooden materials for the slats on one statement seat. The new seats look amazing. I couldn't be more pleased."

Sean Milbank, chairman of Sui Generis, said: "We are delighted with Ben's contribution to the business. He's taken a fresh look at our existing product range and created stylish and contemporary designs that complement the GeoMet range perfectly.

" Ben is definitely going to have a positive impact on the design world."

Sui Generis was set up in 1996 and in 2003 was tasked with refurbishing the historic iron works at St Pancreas Station. This was a four year project valued at £11 million and involved removing the old lead paint and applying a modern high tech coating system.