Henry Glogau Wins 2021 Lexus Design Award

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04.06.21 | By
Henry Glogau Wins 2021 Lexus Design Award

Next-generation talents have been competing for the Lexus Design Award since its 2013 debut, taking on the challenge of creating Design for a Better Tomorrow. This year marks the ninth year of the international competition, with an impressive 2,079 entries submitted from 66 countries! Today we’re happy to announce the winner: Henry Glogau’s Portable Solar Distiller!

It was determined that Glogau’s project best encompasses Design for a Better Tomorrow based on the three key principles of the Lexus brand – Anticipate, Innovate and Captivate. The Portable Solar Distiller is a low-tech solution that provides clean drinking water from polluted water or sea water using sunlight, while also serving as a shaded place to gather.

Henry Glogau

2021 Lexus Design Award Winner Henry Glogau

Glogau said, “It’s a great honor to be selected as this year’s Grand Prix winner, and I’d like to say thank you to the judges. When you look at the level and quality of the finalists and their projects and the progress that has been made throughout, any one of us could have been the winner this year. I’d also like to thank the Mentors – their expertise in a variety of fields really strengthened not only our designs but us also as designers. We as finalists will cherish the thought-provoking questions and conversations we had, and we were so fortunate to experience them. And lastly, a massive thank you to Lexus. Being part of a prestigious award like this with a company that is truly passionate about Design for a Better Tomorrow, and which gives up-and-coming designers a platform and solid foundation to build their design futures on is incredible.”

desalination invention

After selection of the Grand Prix winner, Judge Greg Lynn commented that “The winner was one of the designers who surprised me the most from the application to the final submission. The consistent mission of the winner persisted while the transformation in scale and social function was exemplary. The design became more refined, more functional and more open source during the process. The ability to produce working prototypes was important to all the participants but to the winner it pointed towards the manifold potential of the system that became much more than just a product or appliance but instead a portable, deployable infrastructure.”

desalination invention

packing material

CY-BO by Kenji Abe (Japan)
CY-BO is a new form of cytologically-inspired packaging material that can transform into various shapes by combining the pieces together. Infinitely reusable and rearrangeable, it can be converted into all manner of products for different applications depending on the ideas of the user.

Kenji Abe headshot

Kenji Abe

handheld tech device

Heartfelt by Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea (New Zealand & Tonga, based in New Zealand)
Heartfelt explores what being present’ might look like during the age of a pandemic, and seeks to assist with the anxiety and emotional stresses of being in isolation. The device reflects the heartbeat of your loved one, and promotes psychological support and personal connection.

Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea headshots

Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea

hand holding mobile device

InTempo by Alina Holovatiuk (Ukraine)
InTempo is an app and phone cover that aids people facing emotional stress (e.g. panic attacks, sociophobia) in public spaces or during public actions. Touching spots on the phone cover in time with music may help people calm themselves down.

Alina Holovatiuk headshot

Alina Holovatiuk

reactive fabric

KnitX by Irmandy Wicaksono (Indonesia, based in USA)
KnitX explores the boundaries between electronics, textiles and musical interfaces, imbuing interactivity to everyday fabrics. The result is a musical cloth that responds to tactile and proxemic gestures and an interactive carpet that evokes the bi-directionality between dance and music.

Irmandy Wicaksono headshot

Irmandy Wicaksono


Terracotta Valley Wind by Intsui Design (China, based in Japan)
A terracotta evaporative cooling system that cools subway stations during summer and reduces energy consumption. Terracotta is an inexpensive and accessible clay material. Its porous nature allows water to quickly evaporate, while utilizing the unused wind resource in subway stations, maximizing the value of train-induced wind.

Intsui Design headshot

Intsui Design

To learn more about the Lexus Design Award, visit

Kelly Beall is Director of Branded Content at Design Milk. The Pittsburgh-based writer and designer has had a deep love of art and design for as long as she can remember, from Fashion Plates to MoMA and far beyond. When not searching out the visual arts, she's likely sharing her favorite finds with others. Kelly can also be found tracking down new music, teaching herself to play the ukulele, or on the couch with her three pets – Bebe, Rainey, and Remy. Find her @designcrush on social.