Have you ever found yourself thinking: “If only they had invented a/an—insert really clever device here—my life would be so much better?” For instance, a “clam kayak” that you could serenely float along in after a long week at work, or a “slide bridge” that offered the option to well, slide, rather then walk down a flight of stairs. It sounds too good to be true, but these inventive concepts were just two out of the twelve winning submissions of the first Lexus Design Award competition.
“Calm Kayak” by Mani Zamani.
The competition, conducted in collaboration with designboom, invited some of the most talented visionaries from around the world to submit their innovative design ideas. The theme of the 2012 competition was “Motion.” Contestants were asked to submit ideas that responded to issues in daily life and provided solutions related to movement. With such an abstract theme, contestants were allowed to let their imaginations run free, and they certainly did. 1,243 submissions were received, 12 winners were selected, and the top two were awarded a prize that appropriately reflects the innovation of the competition—the opportunity to see their designs come to life with the help of world-famous professionals.
First place went to Hideki Yoshimoto and Yoshinaka Ono of Tangent for their “INAHO” lighting concept. The designers incorporated their natural environment into their vision for an interactive interior lighting system inspired by the movements of an ear of rice. The delicate freestanding panicles, or bulbs, arranged in a ring and emitting a golden glow, gently sway towards people as they approach the fixture. Yoshimoto and Ono will work with world-renowned product designer Sam Hecht to realize their vision.
Second place was awarded to the Japanese Hitomi Igarashi for his design entitled “Making Porcelain with ORIGAMI.” The design clearly integrates the traditional Japanese paper folding technique; porcelain casts will be made from paper molds. Igarashi will be mentored by Japanese architect Junya Ishigami who will help him create the prototype for his design.“Making Porcelain with ORIGAMI” by Hitomi Igarashi
Both prototypes, along with the designs of the other 10 winning entries, will be exhibited during Milan Design Week taking place this April. Some of the other winners include the Spanish Pablo Fernandez-Goula and Pablo Figuera’s “Bscooter,” an electric scooter whose sleek and compact design was inspired by the Swiss Army knife, the Italian Rudi Davi’s “KLAVA lamp,” which remains balanced in any position and emits precise illumination in any setting, and Taiwan’s Dear Cai’s “FLY,” a device that will efficiently disperse crowds throughout Taipei’s bustling metro transit.
Below are the designs of the 10 finalists whose works will be featured during Milan Design Week: