James Dart
BA(Hons) 3D Design
Brighton University, Faculty of Arts

Masters Product Design

The Revolución FLAX frame offers an innovative focus on performance and durability. The project is currently a collaboration between David Protheroe, an independent frame builder and Dart

The frame uses natural fibre composite to provide performance similar to that of carbon -close in terms of weight and strength, with a reduction in cost. The award winning Bcomp (Switzerland) flax fibres embody elements that we would hope all modern materials would have; it takes twenty-five times less energy to produce than carbon fibres for instance. Using the Swiss fibre technology, the frame already meets rigorous EN 14781 standards.

The composite tubing is able to deliver something different to carbon, by providing a tangible compliance and shock absorption over rougher surfaces. The bespoke titanium lugs offer a sharp visual contrast to the natural fibre. The strength to weight ratio of these parts mean this bike can be every bit the lithe yet tough featherweight that it promises.

Photography by ECAL/Axel Crettenand

Pascal Ospelt painting the prototype frame

Photography by ECAL/Philippe Fragnière

Following a one week trip in the South East of China to discover its immense whole sale market and manufacturing centre, I have sketched and portrayed the many places visited throughout my long journey, capturing moments and casting a fresh look on China's industry and everyday life.

Photography by ECAL/Philippe Fragnière

An exhibition was held a Latitude 22N Studio in February 2014, marking the end of the tour and displaying images, artefacts and drawings from the journey.

My research into composites moves into a realm where theory can be rapidly prototyped into working models that can be tested with freedom, and proven by the rider

Understanding material behaviour through moulding was the primary concern of early development. The basis of the saddle design has been a paired-down construction with a 'nose', rear 'cradle' and rails suspending the composite structure

Many contemporary saddles utilise an injection moulded chassis, covered with contoured foam and a textile upper. A number of these elements are assembled with no means of economical repair further in the product life cycle

The use of composites here allows a number of advantages such as, water proofing, reduction in weight, tailored distribution of forces, assembly and maintenance.

The use of this particular bio-composite, of woven flax fibre and UV cure resin, further enhances possibilities and creates some new opportunities:

The composite can be accurately heat-cured at temperatures less than 80 ºC to a set standard ready for use. Further UV curing can then be used to achieve maximum material rigidity. This could be after a short period of wearing in, similar to breaking in a leather saddle.

The use of this low cost material retains the correct proportions of flexibility and comfort, requiring less components over all, replaced instead only by the implementation of intelligent lay-up

By virtue of the material the saddle can be easily cared for and ultimately repaired, unlike many modern leather and vulcanised rubber saddles.

The project has benefited from the support and review of designers, Tomás Alonso and Alexander Taylor. The project is weighted heavily towards research at this stage, to understand the new materials possibilities correctly.

Development continues presently on this project, towards a final concept; uniting the materials innovation and function with a distinguishable Swiss design language of simplicity


The curation of an exhibition shapes the viewers perspective of the objects presented.

Overseen by Nathalie Du Pasquier, we were tasked with creating a unique way of presenting everyday objects. Through the contexts of the presentation, the objects take on new meanings and their inherent banality is brought into question.

Bricks are known as being solid and heavy. by changing this common understanding, the object becomes light- hearted and less 'weighty'.

This is a tongue-in-cheek play on materials expectations, as well as presenting the obvious juxtapositions of hard and soft, lightness triumphing weight and the ephemeral verses the enduring

Photographed by ECAL/Axel Crettenand

For the Milan International Furniture Fair 2014, Camper, the Majorcan shoe brand, and the ECAL /University of Art and Design Lausanne presented an exceptional multidisciplinary project at the Arlecchino Cinema

'SAVE MY SOLE!' Proposal by James Dart, Elea Nouraud & Patrick Tarkhounian

The basic idea was to create a full-size Camper shop in the Studio Cinema of ECAL,and shoot a short film”, explains Ramón Úbeda of CAMPER

Images ECAL/Axel Crettenand

British designer Bethan Laura Wood was in supervision as we created an original set, an authentic design piece with two-way mirrors – a special effect that is vital to the script – and shaped like a huge shoe box. “ What is there to film in a Camper shop? To discover the film’s concept we were inspired by the company philosophy: humour and jokiness”, reveals Jan Czarlewski, director of this short film lasting around 12 minutes.