Just over a month ago, we posted a Call for Entries for a Dutch design-inspired gift item that could be produced on a 3D printer, to be produced by Kikkerland. The Royal Netherlands Embassy has since announced the 14 finalists, selected by an expert jury for public voting and (for those of you in NYC) viewing at the Museum of Arts and Design starting tomorrow, April 3, through April 20. Even if you can't make it to MAD to see the 3D-printed prototypes, anyone can cast his or her vote for the winner until April 30.
We caught up with jury member Jan van der Lande, CEO of Kikkerland, at the Housewares Show a few weeks ago, where he elaborated on the company's philosophy, including its longtime support of young designers:
Show master CEO Ralph Wiegmann with award winners from South Korea
Last weekend, we had the opportunity to attend the iF design awards 2014 night, which took place at the impressive BMW Welt museum in Munich. Some 2,000 guests involved in design, business, culture, politics and press enjoyed a relaxed get-together while show master Ralph Wiegmann (iF CEO) hosted the ceremony, personally handing out no less than 75 iF gold trophies, which deserves some respect, to three categories of winners: product, communication and packaging.
In January, some 50 jury experts from all over the world came together for three days in Hannover to select the winners of the iF design awards 2014.
Read on to see our top five picks:
iF product design awards
To select the 1,220 winning entries (including 50 coveted iF gold awards), an international jury of experts came together at the Hanover exhibition center to review no less than 3,249 (!) entries from 48 countries. Here are three of our favorite product winners, from big to small:
The BMW i3 is the first large-scale production car with an all-electric engine manufactured by BMW Group is tailored to the requirements of sustainable and emission-free mobility. With its revolutionary architecture and CRP passenger compartment, the BMW i3 weighs only 1,195 kg. Learn more about the innovative new vehicle in our feature story on the BMW i3, including an exclusive interview with Head of Design Adrian van Hooydonk. BMW Group München, Germany
Emergencies bring a slew of unexpected issues: information technologies fail, power is not available, the water supply is cut, food is scarce and health problems spread quickly. UNICEF and Socialab got together, discussed these problems and fell upon an important question: How can we assist victims of disasters more efficiently and save more lives? The decision was to co-launch the "Global Innovation Challenge: First 72 Hours."
To date, there are over 100 ideas from all around the globe focused on taking action in the first 72 hours after the on-set of a catastrophe. Some of the ideas are focused on finding and re-uniting families, others on accessing basic services and many on how to keep children safe post-disaster. An entire archive of the submitted ideas can be viewed here.
The Dutch government is looking for a new giveaway to distribute in the United States and is inviting designers to submit inventive, quirky, and smart ideas for a functional and affordable small item. The item should be inspired by Dutch Design and fit in the collection of our partner, Kikkerland. For more information please see www.Dutchcultureusa.com.
The competition is open to everyone. Organizers hope that Dutch designers, US designers inspired by Dutch Design, as well as special teams of Dutch and US designers will participate.
The top 10 entries will be selected by a high-profile jury by the beginning of April, and will be printed in 3D by Shapeways. This competition, however, does not require that every part of your design can be printed on a 3D printer. The winner will be anounced mid-April.
As we announced last week, Brunel University's top design students have been preparing for a 24-hour design-a-thon, which kicks off right now, at 6pm GMT.
The Made in Brunel 24hr Design Challenge sees 157 students tackle briefs from world renowned companies including Lego, Rolls Royce, IDEO and Seymour Powell. Working under pressure this is an opportunity for us to prove what Brunel designers are capable of.
Update: An earlier version of this story misreported that the structure works like a cooling tower.
The Museum of Modern Art and MoMA PS1 are pleased to announce the winner of this year's Young Architects Program (YAP), an annual call for proposals for a temporary outdoor installation for the converted schoolyard space in Long Island City. In keeping with the institution's mission to support contemporary art, architecture and design practice, the entries invariably err on the side of experimental even as they meet a brief to 1.) provide shade, seating and water, and 2.) address environmental issues, including sustainability and recycling. New Yorkers and well-heeled visitors alike have probably encountered one of these structures during MoMA PS1's weekly Warm-Up summer concert series, when these spectacular projects serve to elevate the courtyard (literally, at times) from a humble outdoor venue to a visionary social space.
The winner of the 15th YAP is The Living, an architectural practice led by principal David Benjamin, whose "Hy-Fi" is billed as a "100% organic" structure. Designed using "biological technologies combined with cutting-edge computation and engineering," the ambitious eco-edifice comes in at roughly three stories tall, with its lower portions constructed from organic bricks developed in conjunction with bio-material specialists Ecovative. Its upper extremities are made from hollow reflective bricks—"produced through the custom-forming of a new daylighting mirror film"—by 3M, which will first be used as the "growing trays" for the corn+'shroom bricks.
The organic bricks are arranged at the bottom of the structure and the reflective bricks are arranged at the top to bounce light down on the towers and the ground. The structure inverts the logic of load-bearing brick construction and creates a gravity-defying effect—instead of being thick and dense at the bottom, it is thin and porous at the bottom.
Last month, we announced the Surface Classroom Design Challenge (where our own Allan Chochinov will a part of the judging panel). If you haven't already, make sure to enter the contest before January 24th, 2014. Let's take a look at the way Surface has been changing the classroom environment with a few thoughts from teachers and students:
For the last round of the Hatch Live competition, the contestants were kept in the dark in terms of what they would be designing until four hours before the competition. "We wanted to keep it exciting," says Matthew Sargeant, founder and CEO of Hatch Hub. "We wanted to see how each designer works under pressure. It was great to feel the adrenaline in the room at the final." The morning of the final round, they were told they'd be creating table lamps. As the event began, it was pretty clear that judges Dan Rubinstein (former editor-in-chief of Surface magazine) and industrial designer Simon Enever had a tough choice ahead of them. Check out the behind-the-scenes video of the final battle for the grand prize:
"The goal of the World Design Impact Prize is to recognise and elevate industrial design driven solutions to societal challenges," noted Icsid Project Development Officer Mariam Masud. "By sharing these solutions, and the challenges they address the prize hopes to raise awareness of perhaps unknown obstacles and encourage a global exchange of ideas."
Food design for social change: a repurposing of the popular Indian snack called a "laddoo", with rich nutrients to fight malnutrition.
The shortlist of projects met the standards of basic selection criteria that extend past basic questions of design aesthetics and functionality that an industrial design competition might be focused on. Rather, jurors are asked to consider questions around Impact, Innovation, Context and Ease of Use. "Are there elements of the project (best practices) that can be universally shared?" "How well does the project compliment or build on the existing infrastructure (physical, political, cultural etc.)?" "Is the project easy to maintain and are replacement parts easily available?"
For 34 years running, the Industrial Designers Society of America sets out to find designers and designs that epitomize quality across design mediums and platforms. Are you ready to be discovered and recognized?
The International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) are given to only the brightest and best executed designs in products, sustainability, interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts. Winners of this award enjoy immediate benefits including pride, self-satisfaction and bragging rights, as well as some longer-term perks, like a stronger professional reputation and increased career opportunities.
All the information you need about the awards, how to enter, the jury and much more is available here. The call for entries ends February 14th, 2014, which we all know seems like an eternity from now, but we recommend you get your entry in sooner than later. Good luck!
With just less than a year to go until their next event, the Belgian Biennale Interieur—a celebration of design and creative culture known for its relatively small size but uncompromising curation—is calling for entries from budding design talents keen to exhibit their work in 2014.
A star panel will judge entries on object and interior design:
Interior brief - Deadline: January 30, 2014 - Create a cutting-edge bar concept for the Biennale INTERIEUR 2014
Object brief - Deadline: April 30, 2014 - Create an object that is relevant to our living environment and helps us improve daily life
This jumprope by student Shi Weilu collects kinetic energy from use to power a flashlight
Ben Hughes has scarcely looked back since he made the transition from Central St. Martins to CAFA about three years ago; rather, he's looking to the future and what it might possibly hold. What better place to do so than in Beijing, where he's set up shop in the Caogchangdi artist village and works part time as a Visiting Professor at the prestigious China Academy of Fine Arts?
Yet in China, Hughes notes, "design is almost exclusively linked to lifestyle and luxury consumption. It is seen as something to aspire to rather than something accessible by all." In the interest of initiating a sea change, he's working on dn Design for the Real China, a design competition that addresses the "imbalance in the understanding of 'design' in China—amongst students, amongst consumers, amongst designers."
With dn - Design for the Real China, I was anxious that we didn't simply reproduce familiar modes of design competition. Many of these (you know who you are) appear to place image, styling and presentation over content and do not insist on development, prototyping or testing. Many also seem to favour slick exterior computer visuals and don't require any level of depth. Some (again, you know who you are) seem to exist solely as commercial entities to extract money out of students and young designers, first for entering, then for publishing, then for attending awards ceremonies, then for receiving an award.
Design for the Real China is unique on several levels:
Emphasizing the explanation of the problem being addressed. Competitions that provide briefs are often so limited and so full of assumptions that we wanted to remove that element. Therefore there is no brief, but participants are asked to explain the problem they are tackling. The problem is often as interesting as the solution...
Removing the influence of judges. They often have their own agenda, so the judging is by popular online vote.
Creating a new kind of incentive structure. The categories are not linked to traditional divisions of design activity—graphic design, product design, textiles, fashion, furniture, etc.—but are decided according to the number of people affected by the design.
This is potentially the most confusing part. Since we ask that all entries are prototyped and tested in some way, the category is linked to the number of people who have been affected so far. Therefore, a product that is on the market and has sold well may have affected 10,000 or more people. A prototype that you have shared with your classmates and friends might have affected 50 people. Something that you made for a relative to solve a particular problem might have affected just one person. The prize money is allocated in inverse proportion to this category. i.e. if the design has affected many people, the prize money is low.
Electrolux Design Lab, the annual design competition that asks design students to envision the future of product design, is coming into the home stretch for this year. Some 1700 entrants from around the world have been winnowed down into just eight finalists, through three rounds of judging, with the winner to be announced on October 16th.
This year's EDL was a little different in that the categories were opened up a bit, expanding beyond appliances into accessories, consumables or services. Still, two out of our three finalist faves still fall into the appliance category.
First up is the ballet-dancer-inspired 3F (for "Form Follows Function"), a shape-shifting vacuum cleaner by Germain Verbrackel, an ID student at France's Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique:
It is designed to economise space in compact and urban apartments; thanks to its autonomous mobility and capacity for physical metamorphosis, -3F- is a living product, responsive to its consumer's needs.
Most people living in metropolitan areas can identify with cramped apartments. People move to the city to live on their own in their own space—only to find that they usually don't have much of it.
NYFU sees this problem and has created the perfect solution: transformable, functional furniture! NYFU, or New York FUnctional FUrniture, is a team of talented designers who have come together to make city-living seamless with their trendy, innovative products. Made with high-quality European materials and offered at affordable prices, their functional furniture is the perfect addition to any metropolitan home.
To get their furniture into your home, NYFU started a Kickstarter campaign demonstrating the benefits of its products. Such products include but are not limited to:
TriBeCa Nesting Tables - Because everyone always need more room.
NY+U Storage Desk - Where you can hide all of the money it's saving you.
For its seventh design competition, Spark is dishing out its most 'meta' brief yet, calling for "a design that shows the experience of designing experience." They're looking to dive into the realm of user experience its interaction in the design process from idea to finished product.
The judges are looking for entries that align with Spark's mission, initiating positive design-led change. Winners will be published in the new Spark Annual and in Korea's Creative World of Design Competitions.
The late entry deadline is coming up on October 10. Find out more info and enter at the competition website.
Travel to most countries around the world, and when you arrive at the airport and step into a convenience store, it's pretty safe to assume that you'll be able to pick up a SIM card and data plan for a reasonable price. By contrast, the most common business model in the United States is to offer a phone at low or no cost but lock customers into a contract for two years. Customers are often left paying a bill of over 50 dollars a month for the most straightforward data plan. If they're lucky, they won't get any surprise charges on their credit card bill. For those who travel internationally, it's often necessary to purchase a new phone or a pricey world band phone, because the more common wireless technology network in North America, CDMA, is rarely recognized abroad.
SIMPLE Mobile is trying to shake things up. Offering a SIM card and easy-to-understand talk, text and data plans, the company aims to make the process of owning a phone and mobile plan a little more straightforward. A 40 dollar per month prepaid plan gets you 1GB of data at 4G speeds, with unlimited talk, text and even international text. Unless you're watching a lot of YouTube videos and plan to upload large documents with your phone, that's probably more than enough for basic use. Expecting a heavier month for calls? Just shift the plan for the next month. It's easy and flexible, as it should be.
Although SIMPLE Mobile isn't offered everywhere in the US, it runs on the TracFone Wireless network and is available in most of the country, especially in urban areas. If you have an unlocked phone with a SIM card slot, it will probably work. Even a tablet like a 3G iPad should work on the network, though you might need to purchase a micro SIM instead of a regular SIM. This means you can browse the web on a much larger screen and not have to worry about hunting for wifi all the time. And since phones that support SIMPLE Mobile run on the world-friendly GSM band, you won't need a new phone abroad; you could even just turn on their international plan for the month you travel.
Core77 is pleased to partner with soon-to-launch innovation platform Hatch Hub for their launch event Hatch Live, a live design competition kicking off in NYC this October, with submissions closing soon. The Grand Prize winner will receive $4,000 and a brunch and portfolio review for former Editor in Chief of Surface Magazine, Dan Rubinstein.
Hatch Live is a new and fast-paced design competition allowing product designers to showcase their talent. Bringing together the design community and an audience of design lovers, Hatch Live will take up-and-coming industrial designers and place them head-to-head in a live design battle using Rhino 3D software. Competitors will receive instructions to create an exciting new product within a specific product category, limited to specific bounding shape constraints set for each round. Up to 12 people will be selected to compete live in the competition matches. Learn more and sign up to compete now at www.hatchlive.com.
Over 100 designers from all over the world submitted cars. It was difficult to narrow it down, but Paul Hatch, founder of TEAMS Design and conference chair, and I narrowed it down to the ten cars we thought would be most likely to win in each of these three categories. The cars were then printed by Stratasys, Computer Aided Technologies, Kalidescope and The 3D Printer Experience. Finally, Models Plus built the track that the cars would race down to their destruction.
With the ten cars printed and on display before the 1,000 designers who attended the conference, the excitement for the race was building. For those of you who missed it or attendees who want to relive the experience, we had six cameras capturing the action, including a slow motion camera to grab the crashes. Check it out:
This past Thursday, we had the opportunity to attend the announcement of the winners of the INDEX Awards, recognizing "Design to Improve Life." Once again, the esteemed jury of the INDEX awards selected five winners (from the 59 finalists) to receive prizes of €100,000 each, albeit with a different tack than in previous years. Not only did the organization introduce a new 'telecast' format for the fifth edition of the biennial event, but they held the festivities in a handful seaside venues in Elsinore, Denmark, about 45km north of Copenhagen for the first time. Following a VIP cocktail reception at the Kronborg castle, historic site of Shakespeare's Hamlet (where one speaker attempted an ill-advised riff on "To be or not to be"), attendees took their seats at the adjacent Culture Yard for the live announcement. The massive, hangar-like space was a Siemens factory as recently as three months ago, and the raw space offered a nice contrast to the slick movie set feel of the production itself. All told, the fast-paced and tightly-scripted presentation was a welcome change from the plodding ceremonies of the past, and the threat of rain cleared up for the warm reception afterward.
The winning entries themselves are stronger than ever, not least for the fact that several of them have already made an appreciable impact in the real world, demonstrating the potential of design to improve life. Drum roll please...
Copenhagen Adaptation Plan
Along with execs from the INDEX Awards, Lord Mayor Frank Jensen made a few introductory remarks at the press conference, welcoming us to the lovely city of Copenhagen, only to return to the stage just a few moments later to accept one of the top prizes for the Copenhagen Adaptation Plan. Although the city has been considering plans to explore new models of urbanism for over a decade now, the crippling floods of 2011 sparked a renewed effort to create the city of the future.
And while the fact that the city is host to the awards—founded as a private initiative, INDEX now has government support—the Copenhagen Adaptation Plan is impressive both for its scope and the fact that it's on track to meet ambitious deadlines within the next few years and decades.
It's a common refrain: ambitious designers develop brilliant, potentially world-changing solutions to the large-scale problems... which never leave the poster presentation or PDF precisely because they're simply too far-reaching. Even when researched and developed to a degree of realizable specificity, few designers have the resources or network to actually execute their vision, and investors are more inclined to support the likes of, say, Rap Genius, as opposed to a water filtration system for the developing world, which may never see any kind of quantitative ROI.
Yet social problems such as lack of food and water beleaguer the everyday lives of billions, and (perhaps more insidiously) environmental issues haunt our existence with no ostensible consequences... until a 100-year storm ravages a city or nation.
The organization also partnered with CNN to produce video 'vignettes' on each project
Thus, the INDEX Design Awards represents a new definition of design that is at once broader and more nuanced: moving beyond beautiful objects towards the intent to "improve life." The very premise of the award is that it might ultimately render itself obsolete—that humankind might eventually prevail over the various humanitarian crises that we face today, that we might achieve ecological homeostasis, that we might reach a point where there is nothing left to improve.
If it seems like a grand vision for what design could or should be, the organization is putting its money where its mouth is, with a total of €500,000 in prize money, as well as new initiatives to connect 'designpreneurs' with business training and savvy investors. And if the notion of "improving life" seems like too broad a directive, each of the finalists of the fifth edition of the biennial celebration of design offers a concrete solution to a remarkably broad range of issues.
The jury team winnowed the field of over 1,000 entrants down to 59 finalists, which can be viewed on the site (we'll have more on the five winners shortly). We've covered several of them before, but the INDEX Awards were a nice occasion to catch up with the likes of Massoud Hassani, who mentioned that his team is working on a new version of his much-lauded Mine Kafon; Dong-Ping Wong and Archie Lee Coates IV are hoping to launch the + Pool test tank in the East River next summer; and Scott Summit of Core77 Design Award-winner Bespoke Innovations, who mentioned that they'd actually started collaborating with another finalist, Ekso Bionics, just before we'd suggested that they work together in our write-up of the latter. We were also glad to see several previously-covered projects in the mix, including hydrogel, the Nest, Rabalder Parken, Skillshare and Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton.
Insofar as the so-called Internet of Things is increasingly regarded as, well, a real thing, the tech and design communities alike have found common ground in pioneering and speculating as to just what those Things might be and how they might work. We've seen a fair share of them—from concept to prototype to final product—but it remains to be seen as to whether, say, Google Glass will see the widespread adoption.
Nevertheless, the connected devices represent the future of technology, and digital agency R/GA recently announced a partnership with startup accelerator Techstars to lead the way: "The R/GA Connected Devices Accelerator is a three-month, immersive, mentor-driven program for ten tech startups. Show us how you combine hardware, data, digital services, and innovative design—anything that adds to the ever-growing Internet of Things—and your company could go from startup to success story."
For three months starting in early December, R/GA will host the startups at their NYC offices, where the teams will have access to dozens of mentors, as well as up to $120K in funding. The deadline to apply for the Connected Devices accelerator is October 11, and the program will culminate with the presentation of the projects at SXSWi 2014. More details are available at RGAAccelerator.com.
With the cost of bandwidth ever in decline, the likes of Twitter and Instagram have been able to introduce moving images as well as still ones. It's too soon to determine Vine's destiny in the crowded social network space (pun intended), but the Twitter spinoff certainly has potential—and the folks at Airbnb are looking to make the most of it with an ambitious project called Hollywood and Vines. "Help shoot a first-of-its-kind short film made entirely of Vine videos. If your Vine is selected it will be featured on the Sundance Channel and you'll receive a $100 Airbnb coupon."
The team at Airbnb will be calling the shots starting right now, at 8am PT, releasing instructions every hour until 5pm—ten per day—for four days straight (through Sunday, August 27). There is a 48 hour window for submissions for each set of instructions, and they will be judged based on several weighted criteria: Originality & Creativity (40%), Compliance with Instructions (40%) and Video Quality & Clarity (20%). In addition to inclusion in the final film, each of the 40 winners will receive a $100 Airbnb coupon.
We had the chance to speak to Airbnb's Vivek Wagle about their metaphorical journey:
Core77: Let's start from the beginning—how did this project come about?
Originally, we were looking for interesting ways to galvanize our Los Angeles community around the "spirit of Airbnb"—that is, creating amazing experiences and stories through sharing. When we landed on the idea of Hollywood & Vines, we realized that we could create a much bigger, more beautiful story if we invited our global community rather than just Angelenos. We realized that this was something that had never been attempted: not an ad, but a true work of art. It was a chance to use a new form of technology to explore the boundaries of collaborative creation. And we loved the poetry of linking the history of filmmaking (Hollywood) with the future of filmmaking (Vine).
In what we'd say is a particularly big coincidence, news of two noteworthy technological feats, both named "Atlas," hit the web yesterday: aerospace startup Aerovelo won the Sikorsky Prize with an aptly-named quadcopter, and DARPA officially unveiled a humanoid robot of the same name... within 500 miles of each other, in Toronto and Waltham, MA, respectively. Seeing as each breakthrough is worth a detailed investigation of its own, we'll refer you to Popular Mechanics and the New York Times for the full scoop on each story, but here's a quick rundown on just what humans have achieved this week.
[The prize-winning flight,] which lasted 64 seconds and reached a maximum altitude of 3.3 meters... came at the very end of five days of test flights [at an indoor soccer stadium near Toronto], after which the space would no longer be available. On two earlier flights, Reichert pilot [sic] the craft, called Atlas, to heights of 2 meters and 2.5 meters. With just minutes remaining before the team was scheduled to vacate the stadium to make way for an evening soccer practice, Reichert managed to squeeze in one last flight. Within 10 seconds a horn sounded signaling that he had exceeded the 3-meter mark.
Their accomplishment is all the more remarkable because it took them only 20 months to bring the Atlas quadcopter from concept to history-making reality. After six months of initial planning, Robertson, Reichert & Co. turned to Kickstarter to raise $30 large towards their projected $170,000 budget (no word on the final bill for the project; the estimated delivery for the prize, per the June 2012 campaign, was last September, so I imagine they sought another round of funding at some point). The quadcopter comes in with a rotor radius of just over 10m and weighs in at 55 kilos (just over 120lbs)—far less than Reichert himself, a longtime athlete who weighs in at 80kg; full tech specs here.
Our favorite Japanese purveyor of no-brand quality goods is pleased to partner with All Nippon Airways a new sweepstakes to promote MUJI to GO, "a category of MUJI products curated based on the concept of 'Good Travels with Good Products.'" The global campaign "Mini to GO" will launch at the Times Square location on July 12, and run for just over a month. From this Friday until August 15, customers who shop at the MUJI stores can bring their receipt to the store at the New York Times Building to get a 3D photograph taken. Participants can enter for a chance to win one of ten free 3D-printed figurines (from the scans) and the grand prize, a vacation courtesy of ANA.
The MUJI Times Square store is located at 620 8th Ave (at 40th St), New York, NY 10018. See more details here.
Retirees may have all the free time in the world, but entrants to the Heineken Ideas Brewery 60+ Design Challenge have just SIX DAYS LEFT to submit their ideas to reinvent the beer-drinking experience for the 60-70 year old demographic. The brief calls for innovative new designs for anything and everything from beer itself to the packaging to the serving experience.
Command X, the ultimate reality show for emerging graphic designers, is back for a fourth season this fall with Matteo Bologna as emcee and Sean Adams as roving reporter. Seven up-and-coming designers will have the chance to win the title and break into the industry at "Head, Heart Hand: AIGA Design Conference" in Minneapolis.
And this year, contestants who make it through the first round will have the chance to work with an AIGA Medalist mentor—including design legends Jessica Helfand, Jennifer Morla, Lucille Tenazas, Michael Vanderbyl and Lorraine Wild. Think you can make the cut? Visit designconference.aiga.org for complete rules, application details and prizes.