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Faculty Member Wins Bronze Medal

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Nick Paget brought innovation and creativity into an unusual place: his bathroom. The Academy of Art University instructor recently took the Bronze at the Spark 2009 Design & Architecture Awards for his Reflect Showerhead design.

The showerhead, which earned Nick his very first award, offers a reflective mirror that doesn't fog up, allowing the user to shave while in the shower.

Coming up with the idea was borne out of practicality for Nick. While shaving in his own shower, he noticed that his chrome showerhead never fogged up because the hot water passing through it heated the metal.

Providing help with the showerhead was former Spark Gold medalist Tom Robbins, who helped him design the very first model.

"I installed it and it worked perfectly," says Nick. "Very lucky. The prototype is still in my shower today."

In addition to its function, the design also earned the bronze due to its form.

"It's environmentally conscious because it is made almost entirely of recyclable aluminum," Nick says. "It's also made in the Bay Area rather than overseas, which has a huge positive environmental impact. The product also fulfills a need people can relate to."

After submitting the design, Nick was excited to learn both that he had won and was impressed to be considered among the other winners in the competition.

"I was thrilled to get the bronze, especially as [James] Dyson also won a bronze for his latest vacuum," he says. "I recently read his book and it inspired me to make my own products. He is the designer I look up to the most."

Nick credits his colleagues at the Academy with helping his design come to life, including fellow Spark winner Christopher Myers and department director Tom Matano, but he leaves his highest praise for his students.

"Their enthusiasm is so motivating and the caliber of work is so high," he says. "Every semester they raise the bar, which forces me as a teacher to continue learning so that I have more to offer the students every semester. It also makes me a better designer."

The award-winning designer also has some advice for his students.

"First, DO enter these competitions," he says. "We have an extremely talented department that produces great designs. Remember to make it visually obvious as to what the product is, how it works, who it's for, and how it's unique. Good luck!"

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