Co-founder of British Design Brand Established & Sons Joins Esteemed Group of Mentors for the Lexus Design Award 2019

Co-founder of British Design Brand Established & Sons Joins Esteemed Group of Mentors for the Lexus Design Award 2019

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Six selected international finalists will receive once-in-a-lifetime mentoring from Sebastian Wrong, Design Director of Established & Sons, and other mentors in New York to prepare for Lexus’s Milan Design Week exhibition.

  • With the mission to nurture up-and-coming young designers, Lexus proudly welcomes Sebastian Wrong (Established & Sons) as the newest mentor for Lexus Design Award 2019
  • Celebrated design authorities, Sir David Adjaye, Paola Antonelli, and Lexus’ own Yoshihiro Sawa return as judges
  • Additional mentors and judge will be announced in October

TOKYO (September 28, 2018) – Lexus International today announced that this year’s Lexus Design Awards (LDA) finalists will get the rare opportunity to take their creative skills to the next level as Sebastian Wrong, Co-Founder and Design Director of leading UK-based design brand Established & Sons, joins the roster of prestigious LDA 2019 mentors, bringing his expertise in product design, manufacturing, and creative skills to the program. Additional mentors will be announced in October.

Established in 2013, the Lexus Design Award is an international design competition that seeks to nurture up-and-coming designers who use design thinking to solve everyday problems and build a better future for individuals and for society.

This year, six finalists will be selected from around the world to receive mentorship and a production budget of up to 3 million JPY (over $25K USD) to build a functional prototype to display at Lexus’s exhibition at Milan Design Week 2019.  A prototype will be selected to win the prestigious Lexus Design Award Grand Prix prize based on how the work integrates three fundamental principles from the Lexus brand: “Anticipate”, “Innovate”, and “Captivate”.

”Sebastian shares Lexus’ goal of addressing tomorrow’s challenges today and making the world a better place. Lexus proudly welcomes him to the design mentorship program,” stated Spiros Fotinos, Global Head of Brand Management and Marketing for Lexus International.

Sebastian Wrong, Design Director of Established & Sons, has designed iconic furniture including the Heidi stool which mixes modernity with nostalgia and the Wrongwoods collection praised for its unexpected colors and designs reminiscent of wood-plank block prints. Wrong’s work with the newest generation of design talent as well as his collaboration with industry veterans make him the perfect talent to join Lexus Design Award’s panel of mentors.

Past Lexus Design Award mentoring featured some of today’s most respected creators such as Snarkitecture and Formafantasma and the format had each finalist receive tutelage at the mentors’ location. This year, Lexus brings all the finalists to one of the most important design capitals of the world, New York City, in January where they will receive guidance from all the mentors across multiple design disciplines. Under expert supervision, the finalists will experience what it takes to emerge as an accomplished designer on the world stage.  Whether tips on design or on the business of making inspiration into reality, the mentors’ global experience and success shared at the workshops will provide valuable insight to leading creative minds of the next generation of designers.

The judges of the Lexus Design Award 2019 returning from last year are: Sir David Adjaye, eminent architect of such innovative works as the Smithsonian Institute’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (named Cultural Event of the Year by the New York Times) and SPYSCAPE, an interactive experience museum with a unique intrigue and espionage theme; Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator of Architecture & Design at The Museum of Modern Art who is also curator of the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival; and Yoshihiro Sawa, President of Lexus International, whose vision for the competition encompasses the brand’s passion to foster a new-generation of creativity.   Their judging criteria for the finalists will be how well the prototype works anticipate the needs of people and tomorrow’s society.  The designs will also need to showcase innovation and originality while at the same time be captivating and engaging to the public.

Deadline for entries to the Lexus Design Award 2019 competition is October 28, 2018. Finalists will be selected December by the elite panel of judges and the six up-and-coming designers will be announced January 2019.

* The world’s largest design exhibition, also known as Salone Del Mobile, presents events and exhibits by brands and designers in many categories including furniture, fashion and textiles.

Judges Profiles


Sir David Adjaye OBE is the principal and founder of Adjaye Associates. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, his broadly ranging influences, ingenious use of materials and sculptural ability have established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. His largest project to date, the million Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in fall of 2016 and was named Cultural Event of the Year by the New York Times. In 2017, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME magazine.


Paola Antonelli is Senior Curator of Architecture & Design at The Museum of Modern Art, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. Her goal is to promote design’s understanding, until its positive influence on the world is universally acknowledged. Her work investigates design’s impact on everyday experience, often including overlooked objects and practices, and combining design, architecture, art, science and technology.
She has curated numerous shows, written several books, and lectured worldwide. She has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Harvard Graduate School of Design; and the MFA programs of the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is currently working on an exhibition on the 111 garments that changed the world; on Design Bites, a book about foods from all over the world appreciated as examples of design; and on a book collecting her essays on the different fields of contemporary design.


Yoshihiro Sawa graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Design from Kyoto Institute of Technology. He has held a number of design-related positions since joining Toyota Motor Corporation in 1980, including Chief Officer of Global Design, Planning Division. He became President of Lexus International in April 2017.

Mentor Profile


Design Director of Established & Sons and an award-winning product designer, London-born Sebastian Wrong has more than 18 years of experience in manufacturing.

Sebastian originally studied sculpture at Norwich School of Art, before founding his first production company in 2001. Spanning both the creative and production side of the design business, he has accumulated an impressive array of technical skills.  Sebastian has taught on the postgraduate diploma platforms at the Royal College of Art, London, and ECAL, Switzerland. As a designer, he has created commercially and critically successful products for some of the world’s leading brands, and his portfolio of work spans furniture, lighting, accessories and gallery projects. As a manufacturer, he has collaborated with many of the preeminent names in contemporary design.

About Lexus Design Award
First launched in 2013, in cooperation with designboom, the Lexus Design Award is an international design competition that targets up-and-coming creators from around the world. The award seeks to foster the growth of ideas that contribute to society by supporting designers and creators whose works can help to shape a better future. It provides a unique opportunity for six finalists to work with globally recognized designer as a mentor to create prototypes of their designs, and then exhibit them at one of the design calendar’s most important events.

About Lexus
Lexus launched in 1989 with a flagship sedan and a guest experience that helped define the premium automotive industry. In 1998, Lexus introduced the luxury crossover category with the launch of the Lexus RX. The luxury hybrid sales leader, Lexus delivered the world’s first luxury hybrid and has since sold over 1 million hybrid vehicles.*

A global luxury automotive brand with an unwavering commitment to bold, uncompromising design, exceptional craftsmanship, and exhilarating performance, Lexus has developed its lineup to meet the needs of the next generation of global luxury guests and is currently available in over 90 countries worldwide.

Lexus associates/team members across the world are dedicated to crafting amazing experiences that are uniquely Lexus, and that excite and change the world.

*(1,263,055 units as of December 2017)

Corey Proffitt
[email protected]


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