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PARIS — “Design to improve your life” is what the Index Award is promoting. Be it a mobile art library in Mexico City or an anti-mosquito application for one’s smart phone, the Copenhagen-based prize, under the patronage of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, has picked 60 finalists for this year’s awards.
Selected from 1,022 nominations and 73 different countries, the designers presented their solutions to problems in 12 different categories, including environment, food, lifestyle and money.
The brand +Pool from the United States conjured a floating pool for public use that cleans the water in New York’s East River.
Safaricom and Vodacom created M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer and micro-finance service to help the 62 percent of adults living in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East who have no other means of making financial transactions.
Meanwhile, Bespoke Fairings recreated the shape of a leg through 3-D scanning to produce custom-made prosthetic legs in a fancy mix of fabrics, from leather to nylon to tattoo prints.
Five winners will be picked at the end of August, which is when all 60 design innovations will embark on a traveling exhibition around the globe, marking between eight and nine stops, including Copenhagen, New York and Capetown.
“It’s three weeks in each place and everything will happen outdoors,” a spokesman for Index told WWD. “The idea is that the innovations are free to access and totally visible 24/7.”
The five awards worth 500,000 euros, or $657,110 at current exchange, are billed to be a solid indicator for the most dominant trends in the various categories.
Among last year’s winners was Sweden’s Hövding, which came up with an invisible bicycle helmet. It was created after a Swedish government survey revealed that less than 30 percent of all cyclists wear helmets because they neither want to look stupid nor mess up their hair. Hövding’s helmet is worn like a collar and has an integrated airbag.