Seeking out the Style, Craftsmanship, Tastes & Experience of a Good Life

Seeking out the Style, Craftsmanship, Tastes & Experience of a Good Life

Portable Solar Distiller by Henry Glogau Lexus Design Awards Winner 2021

Lexus Design Awards

Celebrating design and innovation with the potential to shape a better future

Lexus Design Awards 2021

By Sam Clark

In a world that feels increasingly troubled, Lexus are challenging designers to find creative ideas with the potential to shape a better future. The Lexus Design Awards, launched in 2013, is an international design competition aimed at up-and-coming creatives. Entries from all over the world are whittled down to a shortlist of 6 finalists who get the opportunity to prototype their projects with mentoring from creative experts.

The 2021 awards received over 2,000 submissions from 66 countries. The judging panel made up of leading designers – this year Paola Antonelli, Dong Gong, Greg Lynn and Simon Humphries – selected the best ideas based on the three Lexus design principles: Anticipate, Innovate and Captivate.

Henry Glogau Lexus Design Awards winner 2021
Henry Glogau Lexus Design Awards winner 2021

The overall winner was presented to a potentially life-giving innovation. The Portable Solar Distiller is the genius creation of Henry Glogau. Sunlight is used to produce clean drinking water from polluted or sea water. This low-tech solution to a fundamental problem across the world has a light beauty in its construction, which provides a shady refuge for users as they wait for a drink of fresh, clean water.

Lexus Design Awards winner 2021 Henry Glogau
Henry Glogau’s winning design using the power of the sun to purify water

Glogau, from New Zealand and a recent graduated of the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, said: “It’s a great honor to be selected as this year’s Grand Prix winner. When you look at the level and quality of the finalists and their projects, and the progress that has been made throughout, any one of us could have been the winner this year.

“I’d also like to thank the mentors. Their expertise in a variety of fields really strengthened us as designers. It’s incredible to be part of a prestigious award with a company that is truly passionate about Design for a Better Tomorrow, and which gives up-and-coming designers a solid foundation to build their design futures on.”

The other finalists are:

CY-BO – CY-BO is an ingenious, cytologically inspired packaging material. The different shaped pieces designed by Kenji Abe a product designer based in Tokyo, can be joined together to create a multitude of shapes, infinitely reusable and rearrangeable.

Lexus Design Awards finalists 2021
Finalists: CY-BO packaging material by Kenji Abe (left) and Tube cooling terracotta tiles by Intsui Design (right)

TERRACOTTA VALLEY WIND – This innovation can’t come soon enough for everyone who travels on the tube. Uniquely designed terracotta tiles exploit the natural porous nature of the clay, which allows water to quickly evaporate cooling air as trains pass by. This inspired, low-cost solution to a hot problem was conceived by Intsui Design, a design group based in Tokyo. 

KNITX – Irmandy Wicaksono cleverly weaves together electronics, textiles, and musical interfaces. The result is KnitX, a musical cloth that responds to tactile and proxemic gestures and an interactive carpet that evokes the bi-directionality between dance and music, blurring the boundaries between human-computer interaction in interactive media environments.

Finalists KnitX by Irmandy Wicaksono and Intempo by Alina Holovatiuk
Finalists: KnitX, a musical cloth by Irmandy Wicaksono (left) and Intempo a calming mobile-phone interface by Alina Holovatiuk (right).

INTEMPO – Alina Holovatiuk is a young architect from Ukraine, currently continuing her studies at Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture. Her approach to design is based on special attention to human emotions and her design, Intempo is a tactile phone case that users touch in time to music to help calm themselves.

Finalists Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea ease the emotional stresses of isolation during a pandemic Heatfelf
Finalists Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea explored ways of to ease the emotional stresses of isolation during a pandemic and created their comforting product, Heatfelf

HEARTFELT – Heartfelt is an emotionally driven idea that reflects the heartbeat of a loved one to promotes psychological support and a personal connection when we are alone. Designers Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea are recent Bachelor of Creative Technologies graduates from Auckland University of Technology. Their timely product, Heartfelt is the result of explored what ‘being present’ might look like during a pandemic, and seeks to assist with the anxiety and emotional stresses of isolation.

Much of this year’s awards were forced to be held virtually but back when we could move around more freely we were fortunate to meet a couple of our design heroes, Sir David Adjaye and John Maeda who were members of the judging panel in 2019.

2019 Grand Prix winner Lisa Marks receiving her award for her beautiful “Algorithmic Lace” project at the ceremony held at the Milan Design Week.
2019 Grand Prix winner Lisa Marks receiving her award for her beautiful “Algorithmic Lace” project at the ceremony held at the Milan Design Week.

Internationally acclaimed architect, Sir David Adjaye really enjoyed his role on the judging panel, ‘I’m always keen to get to the moment where the judges get to discuss what this is about, it’s always a great debate. The judges have been pushing a sort of consciousness about the built environment and the world concern. It’s definitely something that we believe in and it’s something we think that Lexus should be in front of.’ 

Technologist John Maeda told us, ‘I really enjoyed judging. It was a hard decision, we had a great deliberation, a lot of good healthy debate and I’m excited about the winner. What links the finalists is craft, technology and humanity.’ 

Technologist John Maeda told us, ‘I really enjoyed judging. It was a hard decision, we had a great deliberation, a lot of good healthy debate and I’m excited about the winner. What links the finalists is craft, technology and humanity.’

2019 Lexus design awards party Milan design week

 

John Maeda also shared his thoughts on design, ‘car design is changing – what I like is that we are now seeing that car design isn’t about the car it’s about the city’. 

John Maeda also shared his thoughts on design, ‘car design is changing – what I like is that we are now seeing that car design isn’t about the car it’s about the city’. 

Sir David Adjaye – who includes a Lexus on his car CV – gave an insight into his own approach to design, ‘Work is never visual, it’s always research and performance-based. To find new beauty and new form you can’t go into it thinking of what it is already, because if you go in premeditated it basically becomes an image of something you already know. If you start a design thinking of what it will be then you are redoing a version of somebody else’s works because inevitably it’s about a collection of images in the mind, of experiences, it’s not a process that creates something new. I’m always concerned with this idea of process driving the end result because it brings out something that you hadn’t pictured. This can be applied to all design, from a building to a car.’

Discover more about the Lexus Design Awards on their website here

And more about the Lexus design philosophy and cars here

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Discover more gifted young creatives at the Global Grad show. Read more

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