GOT A GREAT IDEA?: This year’s six finalists selected for the Lexus Design Award have presented proposals geared to anticipate, innovate and captivate.
Each will receive mentorship from renowned design specialists and funding of more than $25,000 to create prototypes for their projects. Culled from 2,042 submissions — a milestone for the annual competition — this six-pack of creatives are representatives of the U.S., China, Europe, Pakistan and Kenya. Applicants from 79 different countries were in the running.
This year’s contenders are Bio.Scales by Sutherlin Santo, a modular, carbon-sequestering air filtration system assembled from robotically 3-D-printed biopolymer scales; Feltscape by Théophile Peju and Salvatore Cicero, a “breathing felt cloud” made partially from thermoplastics that captures sound and customizes acoustics and lighting for a more serene environment, and Flash Pak by Yaokun Wu is an inflatable flotation device that can also be strapped to other Flash Paks to create a raft — all of which can be used to guide wearers to safety in flash floods via a haptic navigation system with LED lights. The other three contenders are Lick, by Irina Samoilova as a portable body cleaner for humans with a surface similar to a cat’s tongue; Open Source Communities by BellTower is a project that examines the future of smart, sustainable communities in developing countries using open-source home plans, and Pursewit by Aqsa Ajmal is a sewing machine for the visually impaired to use as a source of income.
This year’s theme is “Design for a Better Tomorrow” and each project received more than $25,000 to develop a prototype that will be presented during Milan Design Week in April. Another upside from being a finalist is mentoring from such design talent as Joe Doucet, Bethan Gray, Philippe Malouin, and OMA partner Shohei Shigematsu. The Grand Prix prize winner will be chosen by a jury that includes Studio Gang’s Jeanne Gang, the Museum of Modern Art’s Paola Antonelli, Publicis Sapient’s John Maeda, and Toyota’s Simon Humphries. The Grand Prix winner will be revealed at a ceremony during Milan Design Week and will receive a trophy.
Each entrant will retain ownership rights to any work submitted to Lexus Design Award 2020. “By submitting a prototype, the entrant grants Lexus (as the organizer) the right of first refusal to the exclusive use of the work for commercial purposes for 12 months after the end of the competition,” a Lexus spokeswoman said. “This option conferred to the organizer is valid for one year after Lexus Design Award 2020 concludes. If the organizer elects to purchase the rights for commercial use, a private agreement will be made between the organizer and the entrant for the transfer of intellectual property rights.”