Lexus has chosen four finalists for the Lexus Design Award 2016, an annual international design competition targeting up-and-coming creators from around the world whose work contributes to shaping a better future. The four selected finalists will be mentored by globally recognized designers and then have their design prototypes exhibited at Milan Design Week. This years theme, Anticipation, was chosen because Lexus believes in developing products and services by anticipating the needs of people and society. 1,232 works were submitted from 73 countries, but only 12 entries were chosen. Out of the 12 chosen, 4 finalists will produce prototypes with their mentor to be exhibited at Milan Design Week, along with panel presentations from the other 8 finalists.
The first finalist is Agar Plasticity designed by AMAM (Kosuke Araki, Noriaki Maetani, and Akira Muraoka). This prototype hopes to transform Agar into a viable packaging substance. The group said this about their project, “Seaweed-derived agar is traditionally consumed as food in Japan, and used in scientific and medical fields worldwide. Sold in a dry state, agar shows porous, feathery structure and is very light despite its volume. We have taken notice of these features and have been exploring its possibility as packaging material. Goods are usually shipped wrapped in plastic materials. Once unwrapped, they soon become waste or are collected to be recycled. Considering the raw materials and energy for processing, this situation is undesirable. Anticipating effective and sustainable utilisation of natural resources has become more and more indispensable. Believing biodegradable substitutes to plastics are needed, we took this opportunity to tackle this seemingly ignored problem.”
This group will work with mentor Max Lamb. Max is a product and furniture designer whose design sensibility is informed by his extensive knowledge of manufacturing techniques, respect for materials, and skill as a maker. A native of Cornwall, Max has been tinkering with objects and engaging with the physical landscape since he was a small boy; a curiosity that led to an MA in Design Products at the Royal College of Art and subsequently the foundation of his workshop-based design practice. Max explores both traditional and unconventional materials and processes, blending experimentation and rationale to create furniture and products that are both honest and intelligible. Max teaches Design Products at the Royal College of Art and runs regular design workshops for companies and institutions around the world.
The second finalist is Dada designed by Myungsik Jang mentored by Neri and Hu. Jang explains his hope for his work saying, “Children have wild imaginations, so every child has their own unique world. They tell their stories with passion. Toys are products they can use to express their world. But existing toy blocks have fixed forms and standardized connecting structures. They limit children’s imagination. What if children could make toy creatures using various blocks that correspond to their anticipation? They would create works that reflect their inner self using unique colours and shapes.” Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, cofounders of Neri & Hu Design and Research based in Shanghai, have been working on projects around the world which incorporate overlapping design disciplines to create a new paradigm in architecture. In 2014, Wallpaper* announced Neri & Hu as 2014 Designer of The Year. In 2013, they were inducted into the U.S. Interior Design Hall of Fame. Neri & Hu believes strongly that research is a key design tool as each project brings its own unique set of contextual issues. Providing architecture, interior, master planning, graphic and product design services, Neri & Hu recognizes that contemporary problems relating to buildings extend beyond the boundaries of traditional architecture. Rather than starting from a formulaic design, Neri & Hu’s work is anchored in the dynamic interaction of experience, detail, material, form and light.
The third finalist is called Shape Shifters and is designed by Angelene Laura Fenuta. She says about her design, “I believe this will enrich people’s lives by providing an adaptable garment that will serve a variety of purposes; minimizing consumption while maximizing individuality. The garment system evokes a sense of play, while offering active participation in design and encouraging positive self-image.” She will be mentored by Elena Manferdini, founder and owner of Atelier Manferdini, with offices in Italy and California, has completed design, art and architectural projects in the United States, Europe and Asia including the Pavilion of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Her firm has collaborated with internationally renowned companies such as Swarovski, and Sephora and her work has been featured in journals and publications including Elle, Vogue and the New York Times. Currently Graduate Chair at the Southern California Institute of Architecture she exhibits internationally and lectures widely having spoken at MIT, Princeton, Tsinghua University and Bauhaus. She was recently awarded the 2013 COLA Fellowship to support the production of original artwork. In 2011 she received a prestigious annual grant from United States Artists (USA) and her Blossom design for Alessi received the Good Design Award.
The fourth finalist is Trace, designed by STUDIO AYASKAN (Begum and Bike Ayaskan). The twin sisters based in London said this about their product, “Trace’ is a clock that uses UV light to invoke a colour change within a transparent photochromic solution. Every second, minute and hour is marked by a UV light beam that rotates around the face of the clock. This UV light triggers the photochromic change, leaving a trace of colour as time sweeps by. This solution fades back to transparent after around 60 seconds, leaving a trail that completely erases itself.” The duo will be mentored by Snarkitecture, founded in 2008 by Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen. Snarkitecture is a collaborative and experimental practice operating in territories between art and architecture. Sharing a mutual interest in the intersection of art and architecture since their student days together at Cooper Union in New York, their first commission was for Dior Homme. Deriving its name from Lewis Carroll’s fanciful poem “The Hunting of the Snark”, Snarkitecture designs permanent, architectural scale projects and functional objects with new and imaginative purposes, creating moments of wonder and interaction that allow people to engage directly with the surrounding environment. Transforming the familiar into the extraordinary, Snarkitecture makes architecture perform the unexpected.
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