Now in its fifth year, the Lexus Design Award was first launched in 2013 to help create ideas “to build a better tomorrow”. The competition supports up-and-coming designers across the globe. 2017’s theme, which drew 1,152 entries from 63 countries, was the notion of contradiction and juxtaposition suggested by the word “yet.”
Visitors to the awards ceremony and exhibition of shortlisted entries were greeted by Ancient Yet Modern, a 3D-printed glass installation by Neri Oxman and the Mediated Matter Group. The exhibition went on to reveal the 12 finalists selected by a panel of world-renowned designers and creative mentors including New York Times design critic Alice Rawsthorn, architects Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, and British designer Max Lamb in November 2016. From those 12, four were selected to develop their ideas into prototypes, and those prototypes formed the main part of the exhibition.
Structural Color – Static Yet Changing was created by shortlisted designer Jessica Fügler, who is one of three finalists based in the United States – the first time in the award’s history that American designers have made it this far.
Currently based in New York, Fügler is a graduate from the Design Products program at London’s Royal College of Art. The structure is static yet changeable depending on the perspective of the onlooker, and is a development of her ongoing exploration of “forward-thinking systems and processes that weave together craft and industry.”
Exploring the idea of minimalism, Having Nothing and yet Possessing Everything is a “capsule for modern living,” created by Korean designer Ahran Won, who is also based in the USA. “One’s life curated into six boxes and a mat – that is all one needs for a minimal state of mind,” explains Won.
Player’s Pflute by Chinese designer Jia Wu is a vegetable and yet also a musical instrument designed to encourage children to get playful and creative with their food and therefore engage in healthy eating practices from a young age.
The 26-year-old designer created a set of plastic mouthpieces and keys, under the mentorship of British designer Max Lamb, that turn a bell pepper into a harmonica or a zucchini into a flute, and now hopes to work with Chinese manufacturers to get the concept into production.
Pixel by Japanese designer Hiroto Yoshizoe is a structure designed to enable people to experience the existence of light yet shadow, utilizing a series of angled visors to create a range of optical effects. “By converting light and shadow into a clear, sensible form, viewers can experience this beautiful fundamental phenomenon,” said a statement from Lexus, who awarded Hiroto the overall prize.