Lexus Design Award 2017 – Finalists announced

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Pixel by Hiroto Yoshizoe: “a structure to experience the existence of light yet shadow”


The finalists in the Lexus Design Award 2017 have been announced, featuring a collection of 12 projects that embrace contrasting qualities, true to the competition’s theme of ‘yet’.

If you’ve not come across the Lexus Design Award, it’s a rather curious competition. Lexus place great stock in exploring ideas that don’t conform to traditional products and mixes together material development, product design and art.

We got to spend time with the finalists last year and its clear that the Japanese auto-giant is both generous in its support, but also believes in the process (it has been running the competition since 2013).

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Player’s Pflute by Jia Wu: “A vegetable yet a musical instrument that provides a fun and learning experience.”


Prototype design finalists

– Having nothing and yet possessing everything (Ahran Won, South Korea): a capsule for mobile living, having nothing yet everything.

– PIXEL (Hiroto Yoshizoe, Japan): a structure to experience the existence of light yet shadow.

– Player’s Pflute (Jia Wu, China): vegetable yet a musical instrument that provides a fun and learning experience.

– Structural Color-Static Yet Changing (Jessica Fügler, USA): Static yet changeable structure, depending on viewpoint.


Panel finalists

– Buoyant Measuring Spoon for the Blind (Eunjin Park, South Korea): a measuring spoon with unseen yet visualised tactile gradations for the blind.

– The Landscape of Paper (Kuniko Maeda, Japan): disposable yet upcycled material using traditional and modern technology.

– Mass Production to Unique Items (TAKEHANAKE-Bungorogama, Japan): mass-produced yet one-of-a-kind ceramics, created using a portable kiln.

– Paper Kettle (Ryo Katayama, Japan): a combustible yet fire-resistant paper kettle.

– Platanaceae (Paula Cermeño, Peru): banana leaf bandages that outperform synthetic types yet are biodegradable and soothing,

– POD (MODlab, USA): temporary shelter for displaced populations, homeless yet home.

– RETROSPECTION PROJECT/TIMETUNE RADIO (Takuro Sanda, Japan): hi-tech yet retro radio tunes in programmes from past and present.

– Traffic Light System (Evgeny Arinin, Russia): simple yet sophisticated traffic light.


With the goal of stimulating ideas that can “help build a better future, the international design competition supports up-and-coming designers and creatives worldwide.

This year the fifth award competition attracted more than 1,100 entries from 63 countries. The theme of ‘yet’, with the concept being an inspiration for Lexus’ innovation, expressing the “successful fusing of seemingly incompatible goals… by harmonising contradictory elements, opportunities for visionary and progressive design and technology can be created”.

The judging panel selected the 12 finalists, including four entries of special merit that will be turned into prototypes with the support of professional design mentors.

The mentors will provide guidance for the four finalists selected to progress their designs to a prototype: architects and interdisciplinary designers Neri & Hu, designer Max Lamb, designer/architect Elena Manferdini and artist/architect Snarkitecture. Each also served as a mentor in the 2016 award programme.

One of the favourites that didn’t make the final prototype stage, Buoyant Measuring Spoon for the Blind by Eunjin Park: “A measuring spoon with unseen yet visualised tactile gradations for the blind”

The completed prototypes will be featured as part of the Lexus presentation at this year’s Milan Design Week, together with presentation boards introducing the designs of the other eight finalists.

The finalists will present their work to the judges and international media on 3 April, after which the Grand Prix winner will be announced to mark the climax of the Lexus Design Award 2017. The exhibits will remain on public view through to 9 April.

Further details about Lexus’s involvement in the 2017 Milan Design Week will be announced in mid-February. Last year, we got a tour of both Lexus and its parent company Toyota’s exhibit at the event – the rather delightful Setsuma.