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In March, the LATi networking group spent the afternoon at world-renowned and award winning design consultancy Renfrew Group International. Renfrew’s headquarters is based locally in Leicester, close to the National Space Centre, at the aptly named Rocket Studios.

TheLATi  visit to Renfrew Group visit attracted a diversity of engineers, scientists, and technologists, who were all excited to see inside Renfrew’s headquarters. We had the opportunity to listen to presentations from design development director Michael Phillips and enjoyed an open discussion with MD Bruce Renfrew.

The event included a guided tour of the design studios, workshops, impressive prototyping rooms and production facilities including injection moulding. It truly really was a privilege to see the inner workings of a hands-on design studio.

Interestingly, Renfrew’s design projects are user focused with an eye on practical and emotional needs. Products range from motorcycles to the everyday products in our lives, but they also carry out design projects for the medical industry (nearly 60%). Innovative medical products include the artificial pancreas, NHS Temporary Side Room, the Buddy Wotch wearable and the user-centered chair for the NHS Blood and Transplant service.

Renfrew Images 04Renfrew has also been working closely with Californian technology firm Digilens, developing vision technology, in the particular Head Up Displays(HUDs) designed to be integrated into motorcycle helmets and to provide the rider with extra information from traffic reports, speed, GPS mapping, and phone communications.

Event organiser Gillian Hunter, who spoke after the event highlighted this “clearly demonstrates how brilliant engineering and design can dramatically improve people’s lives.”

Automotive & Vehicle Safety expert Alan Thomas of CAVT Ltd spoke highly of the event, saying “LATi events always delight me with the ways in which businesses in an entirely different sector to mine throw helpful light on aspects of my work. Renfrew was no exception, at least with their medical projects, plus the head-up displays were closer to the human machine interface systems I deal with. It was no surprise that we were not able to visit the automotive side: after a lifetime with the secrecy of the auto industry, I’d have been worried if we had been allowed in there”.

Renfrew Images 06As usual with LATi events, attendees have numerous ideas of how the technology can be further applied, or adaptations made for the benefit of a different user group. A case in point was when Alan Thomas suggested transposing the Digilens technology so that it could be adapted for the visually impaired. The ideas and insights put forward were enthusiastically received by the team at Renfrew Group, demonstrating that LATi visits can be a true ‘win-win’ for everyone.

LATi would like to thank those who attended and of course to Renfrew Group for giving up their time to provide a valuable insight to the company’s portfolio, history, and design philosophy.


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Guest blog by David Garvin of 3DG Design

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