Now in its 9th year, The Architect’s Newspaper’s Best of Products Awards acknowledges the leading manufacturers, designers, engineers, and artisans whose inventions are crucial to the built environment. Be it a decorative light fixture that provides art as well as ambiance, a building material that recycles rainwater, or a bathroom mirror and faucet system that improves hygiene, AN’s awards program celebrates the vast and ever-evolving industry of architectural products, as it’s these that allow architects to build better and bigger projects that can more precisely respond to the world around them.
A consideration for how products operate within a larger ecosystem was a common theme that united many of the winners picks this year. This includes a consideration for the global climate crisis, an issue that prompted designers to devise creative and affordable alternatives and solutions. Beyond sustainability, this year’s winners carefully reflected on how products and building materials influence lifestyle choices, from health and nutrition to hygiene and sanitation habits. Many applicants approached their work with the needs of homeowners, builders, public spaces, and communities in mind, a growing trend that refreshingly recognizes how impactful even the smallest details of a project can create social good.
Among so many submissions and categories, it was difficult to come to a decision, but our jury of architects, designers, and educators meticulously inspected each application. Their comments, featured below, provide insight into the assessments made, as well as aspiring future directions of product categories. What follows are AN‘s Best of Product winners, honorable mentions, and editor’s picks for 2023.
Plaid is a ceiling acoustic solution that merges art and architecture. A criss-cross sound container and tee-grid ensure it can be scaled up for large scale projects without sacrificing aesthetics.
Appliances & Plumbing: Bathroom
Sensor-operated soap dispensers, water faucets, and hand dryers are all seamlessly integrated into the Zoom mirror. It brings elevated hygiene as well as a sleek style to public restrooms.
Appliances & Plumbing: Kitchen Appliances
The Series 11 24 features 23 functions that enables the ability to cook by function, food type, or recipe. This offers a greater retention of nutrients, an ability to cook without oil or butter, and an ease of use, as it can be installed without a water line.
Appliances & Plumbing: Kitchen Fixtures
Made with a precise aluminum frame, Contour Kitchen is a cabinetry solution that softens the use of metallics, accommodates various moods, and features a custom finish handcrafted by cabinetry artisans.
Building Materials: Composites
ACRE is a sustainable alternative to wood that protects rainforests against deforestation. It’s a circular product that sources materials from landfills.
Building Materials: Glass
The new glass from Pulp Studio is a matte, ultra-thin architectural material for both exterior facades and interior applications. It can be designed, bent, and technically manipulated to achieve aesthetic and performance requirements.
Building Materials: Timber
Unlike toxic building products that contribute to the climate crisis, Lunawood ThermoWood applies heat and steam to timber sourced from renewable Nordic forests to create a sustainable alternative. Not only does this extend the wood’s lifespan, but it also creates an inherent flexibility and durability.
Building Materials: Weather, Air Barriers, & Insulation
Wood Fiber Insulation appeals to home owners, builders, and architects alike. Made from residual wood chips, it’s energy efficient, easy to install, and provides an affordable solution towards climate change.
A natural facade product made from high-quality slate, CUPACLAD resists harsh weather. While durable, the product remains lightweight and elegant.
Facades: Structural Systems
ParaClad is a turnkey structural support system that spans up to 12 feet as well as over uneven elements. It’s made with tube extrusions and custom base plates and brackets.
Finishes & Surfaces: Hygienic Surfaces
Silicone Symphony is an ensemble of over 100 coated upholstery fabrics of varying colors and textures, each informed by biophilic design, the longevity of silicone, and unfussy maintenance.
Finishes & Surfaces: Interior Flooring
This carbon-neutral rubber flooring collection is derived from renewable natural gas that stems from organic waste. The collection of 20 colors features Nfuse technology, eliminating initial set-up, sealing, and waxing.
Finishes & Surfaces: Interior Walls, Countertops, and Surfaces
PIXL’s raised poofs make for a modern acoustic wall tile. With shape and color options, they are as effective as they are pleasing.
Finishes & Surfaces: Outdoor
Accoya considers the environment and material health. It’s FSC-certified, Cradle to Cradle Gold–certified, and resistant to rot and moisture thanks to a unique vinegar treatment.
Finishes & Surfaces: Paint & Coating
Gendai is a wall and ceiling cladding material made exclusively from Japanese cypress that is intensely burned as a preservative health treatment. The result is texturally rich with a silky finish and charred grain details.
The touch-free hand sanitizer fixture, Vaask, incorporates technology to ensure it’s never empty. It’s a desirable product, both for its convenience and elegant design.
TOKO is a collection of self-supporting structures designed to create unique acoustical and spatial environments. The freestanding nature ensures reconfiguration and relocation, meeting the needs of ever-evolving workplaces.
Designed for urban environments, Mobile Kiosks comprises four modules: cook, wash, store, and sell. Each collapse and can be easily moved, a nifty formulation to activate public and community spaces.
The Dark and Stormy Table fuses clear and colored resins. Each piece is hand-cast, one of a kind, and captures light in unique ways.
Made from 90 percent bio-based PE content sourced from rapidly renewable sugarcane, Outdoor Biobased Xorel is the first fossil fuel–free indoor and outdoor textile that also sequesters 2.5 tons of carbon for every ton of sugarcane.
The System One pivot hinge is less than half the size of its predecessor at 18 millimeters tall. Small yet sturdy, it can bear doors weighing up to 1,100 pounds and fit in narrow profiles.
Anthology is a collection of tailored, in-house designed hardware, each of whom are made with American solid brass and build to an eclectic that better personalizes spaces.
Lighting & Electrical: Architectural & Commercial
Offering up to 1,500 lumens, FINCH is a mounted cylindrical light fixture with a one-inch aperture. It can be used as a downlight, accent light, and wall washer.
Lighting & Electrical: Decorative
T.O pendant is a wand of light suspended by two nylon belts, a feature that allows 360-degree rotation for a flexible and sculptural lighting solution.
Lighting & Electrical: Outdoor
Inline is a range of bollards and columns that bring a contemporary illumination to parks, plazas, and more. Independently adjustable modules of over 4,000 lumens provide a flexibility of use.
Designed by Giuseppe Bavuso, Radius is a minimalist pivot door system that eliminates the need for jambs or frames. It is made from 100 percent recyclable glass and aluminum with a solar-powered production process.
Technology: Smart Building, Smart Home, & Automation Systems
This lightweight textile skin absorbs rainwater to harvest for the building’s toilets, washing machines, and other needs. During hot summers, the water is released to cool the interior and exterior of the building, an effort which aims to relieve sewage infrastructure and energy consumption.