Tiger Guo wins gold for Aurelian headphones

A break with clone design culture has won Tiger Guo, a Master’s student at the University’s School of Design, his second major international award for his Aurelian headphones.

Aurelian headphones against black backdrop

Tiger came up with the Aurelian headphones in his third year of industrial design study, and the design has taken his work worldwide. He was awarded a 2018 A’ Design Award in the Digital and Electronic Devices Design Category for Aurelian, and has now received a Gold Novum Design Award in Jewellery Design for the same design.

“We wanted to build something that was distinguishable from other headphones, in terms of not only a product, but in terms of a fashion statement—a status symbol. We wanted to make the “suit” of headphones,” says Tiger.

Making the suit of headphones however, hasn’t come cheap. “My year was a bit of an outlier in terms of material costs: we were a very close cohort that liked to push each other. I put about two weeks of rent into buying precious metals for the Aurelian.”

Tiger says this was worth the money, for the impact of the awards on his career. “When I won A’, I became a consultant for the World Design Consortium, which is a big coalition of designers and design firms, with about 1000 members and 15,000 awards between them. These are the guys that do everything in the design world, with clients like Lenovo, Coca-cola, Lexus, Ferrari. Since I’ve become a member, I am being drip-fed information and I’ve made a lot of new contacts and it has definitely opened a lot of doors.I am sure my Novum achievement will do the same thing.”

The Novum design award winners get the opportunity to use their winner logos throughout their career. These awards also provide the winners with international PR services, marketing support and other media opportunities.

Tiger has also attracted some recent commissions for designs as a result of his successes.

The Aurelian is entirely 3D-printed. Tiger says, “We are reaching an age when we can use 3D printing as a manufacturing means, but not for mass production. But mass production is falling out of fashion anyway.

“There are very few limitations to 3D printing—with gold and brass you use molding techniques with a 3D printed mold—but in terms of cheap metals, plastics and resins, the sky is the limit.”

Tiger is surprised by the success of his design, as it didn’t place in the first design award he put it in for. “I just kept trying because it was the best shot I had. And you miss every shot that you don’t take.”