Philosophy Inspires Lexus Design Award 2017 Finalists, Announced Today

Philosophy Inspires Lexus Design Award 2017 Finalists, Announced Today

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Finalist Selection Marks First Time U.S. Designers Advance to Final Round

NEW YORK, Jan. 31, 2017 — Lexus International today announced the 12 finalists for the Lexus Design Award 2017. Three finalists based in the USA were selected, marking the first time designers from this region have advanced to the final round. First launched in 2013 to help stimulate the ideas necessary to build a better tomorrow, the Lexus International Design Award is celebrating its fifth anniversary. The competition supports up-and-coming designers and creators worldwide. Lexus Design Award 2017 drew 1,152 entries from 63 countries under the theme of “Yet.”
As the philosophical soul of Lexus innovation, “Yet” is particularly appropriate for the fifth anniversary of this Lexus event. “Yet” inspires us to find synergy by fusing seemingly incompatible goals, such as spacious yet aerodynamic design. By harmonizing contradictory elements, “Yet” opens up visionary frontiers of progressive design and technology to deliver amazing new experiences to the world.
In November 2016, a panel of world-renowned designers and creative mentors gathered to judge the entries. After rigorous evaluation and extensive discussion, the judges chose 12 finalists.
Of these 12 finalists, the following four were selected to prototype their designs, mentored by globally recognized creators.

  • Structural Color – Static Yet Changing, Jessica Fügler (USA): Static YET Changeable structure depending on viewpoint.
  • Having Nothing, and Yet Possessing Everything, Ahran Won (Korea, USA-based): 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 provides fun and learning experience. 

To provide creative guidance to the above four finalists, Lexus Design Award 2017 has enlisted  four renowned mentors: architects and interdisciplinary designers Neri & Hu, designer Max Lamb, designer/architect Elena Manferdini and artist/architect Snarkitecture. All served as mentors to last year’s finalists, as well.
The four completed prototypes will be featured as part of the Lexus exhibition at this year’s Milan Design Week, along with presentation boards introducing the other eight finalists’ designs. The event will run from April 3 (press and award presentation day) through April 9. On April 3, the finalists will present their designs to the judges and international media. The judges will evaluate the four prototypes and announce the Grand Prix winner, marking the climax of the Lexus Design Award 2017 award cycle.
More information and pictures can be found on:
Lexus Design Award website:
Instagram:   @lexusdesignaward
Official hashtags:#LexusDesignAward; #MilanDesignWeek;
Further details on the Lexus presence at 2017 Milan Design Week* will be announced in mid-February on the Lexus Design Award website.
* 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.

Lexus Design Award 2017 Entries Selected for Prototype Development:

  Title Having nothing, and yet possessing everything.
Ahran Won (Korea)
Country of residence USA
Description A capsule for mobile living, Having nothing YET Everything.
Mentor Neri & Hu
  Title PIXEL
Hiroto Yoshizoe (Japan)
Country of residence Japan
Description A structure to experience the existence of Light YET Shadow.
Mentor Snarkitecture
  Title Player's Pflute
Jia Wu (China)
Country of residence China
Description Vegetable YET a musical instrument provides fun and learning experience.
Mentor Max Lamb
  Title Structural Color – Static Yet Changing
Jessica Fügler (USA)
Country of residence USA
Description Static YET changeable structure depending on viewpoint.
Mentor Elena Manferdini


Lexus Design Award 2017 Panel Exhibits:

  Title Buoyant Measuring Spoon for the Blind
Designer (Citizenship) Eunjin Park (Korea)
Country of residence Korea
Description A measuring spoon with Unseen YET Visualized tactile graduations for the blind.
  Title The Landscape of Paper
Designer (Citizenship) Kuniko Maeda (Japan)
Country of residence UK
Description Disposable YET Upcycled material using traditional and modern technology.
  Title Mass Production to Unique Items
Designer (Citizenship) Group name: TAKEHANAKE-Bungorogama
Yoshifumi Takehana (Japan), Bungo Okuda (Japan), Akira Okuda (Japan)
Country of residence Japan
Description Mass produced YET One-of-a-kind ceramics created using a portable kiln.
  Title Paper Kettle
Designer (Citizenship) Ryo Katayama (Japan)
Country of residence Japan
Description Combustible YET Fire-Resistant paper kettle.
  Title Platanaceae
Designer (Citizenship) Paula Cermeño (Peru)
Country of residence Switzerland
Description Banana leaf bandages that out performs Synthetic YET are Biodegradable and soothing.
  Title POD: Homeless YET Home
Designer (Citizenship) Group Name: MODlab
Eric Schwartzbach (USA), Benjamin Ward (USA)
Country of residence USA
Description Temporary shelter for displaced populations. Homeless YET Home.
Designer (Citizenship) Takuro Sanda (Japan)
Country of residence Japan
Description Hi-tech YET Retro radio tunes in programs from past and present.
  Title Traffic Light System
Designer (Citizenship) Evgeny Arinin?Russia)
Country of residence Russia
Description Simple YET Sophisticated traffic light.


Judge and Mentor Profiles
Paola Antonelli / Curator
Antonelli joined The Museum of Modern Art in 1994 and is a Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, as well as MoMA’s Director of Research and Development. She has lectured at TED, the World Economic Forum in Davos, and several other international conferences. Her goal is to insistently promote understanding of design until its positive influence on the world is fully acknowledged and exploited. She is currently working on several shows on contemporary design, and on States of Design, a book about the diversity and variety of design fields that exist today.

Aric Chen / Curator
Aric Chen is Lead Curator for Design and Architecture at M+, the new museum for visual culture currently under construction in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. He previously served as Creative Director of Beijing Design Week, leading the successful relaunch of that event in 2011 and 2012. Chen has curated and organized numerous exhibitions and projects at museums, biennials and other events internationally, and has been a frequent contributor to publications including The New York Times, Monocle, Architectural Record and PIN-UP.
Toyo Ito / Architect
Ito graduated from the University of Tokyo, Department of Architecture in 1965. His main works include: Sendai Mediatheque, Tama Art University Library (Hachioji), Taiwan University, College of Social Sciences (Taiwan R.O.C), ‘Minna no Mori’ Gifu Media Cosmos, etc. Projects Under development include: National Taichung Theater (Taiwan R.O.C), New Athletic Field and Sports Park in Aomori (tentative title) and several others. Among his many honors are the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize, Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, Royal Gold Medal from The Royal Institute of British Architects and the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
Birgit Lohmann / Chief Editor of designboom
Born in Hamburg, Lohmann studied industrial design in Florence before moving to Milan, where she has lived and worked since 1987. She worked as a designer and product development manager for a number of Italian architects and master designers. She has also worked as a design historian for justice departments and international auction houses. As a researcher and lecturer, she has conducted seminars on industrial design at a number of prestigious international universities. In 1999, she co-founded designboom, where she is currently the Chief Editor, Head of Educational Programming and Curator for International Exhibitions.
Alice Rawsthorn / Design Commentator
Alice Rawsthorn writes about design in the International New York Times and frieze.  Her latest book Hello World: Where Design Meets Life explores design’s impact on our lives: past, present and future.  She speaks on design at global events including TED and the World Economic Forum’s annual meetings at Davos, Switzerland.  Based in London, Alice is chair of trustees of the Chisenhale Gallery and the contemporary dance group Michael Clark Company, and a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery.  She was awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to design and the arts.

Yoshihiro Sawa / Executive Vice President of Lexus International
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 Executive Vice President of Lexus International in April 2016.

Neri & Hu / Architects and Interdisciplinary Designers
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.
Max Lamb / Designer
Max Lamb’s work plays with the tradition of the working rural landscape — the beach as foundry, the quarry as workshop, felled yew trees of the Chatsworth estate as subject and source material. He is equally fascinated by the city, and his ability to adapt and respond to different environments produces designs that are uniquely of their time and place.
Max is not committed to a single material or process, nor is he attracted to design as a means to solve problems. Rather he exploits the qualities inherent in a material to draw out its natural tendencies and beauty. His methods are high- and low-tech, and he is both designer and manufacturer, collaborating with foundries and factories as the scale or complexity of the project necessitates. However, there is continuity in the principles that he applies — honesty to material, a celebration of the process and of human capability, and its limitations.
Elena Manferdini / Designer and Architect
Elena Manferdini, founder and owner of Atelier Manferdini, with offices in Venice, 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.

 Snarkitecture / Artists and Architects
 In 2008 Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen founded Snarkitecture, 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.



First launched in 2013, 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. This provides a unique opportunity for four 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.
Since its U.S. market debut in 1989, Lexus has earned a worldwide reputation for high-quality products and exemplary customer service. Renowned for the superior reliability of its vehicles, Lexus is the luxury hybrid leader, offering hybrids that combine innovative technology and premier luxury. To date, Lexus has grown into 90+ markets worldwide. The evolution of Lexus is not only reflected in the progressive designs of its latest vehicles, but also in the brand’s mission to captivate the next generation of luxury consumers with consciousness, products, and services that are visionary, original and exciting.

Prue Hyman
Senior Analyst, East Coast Lexus Communications
[email protected]


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2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - Having nothing, and yet possessing everything

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - PIXEL

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - Player's Pflute

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - Structural Color - Static Yet Changing

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - Buoyant Measuring Spoon for the Blind

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - The Landscape of Paper

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - Mass Production to Unique Items

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - Paper Kettle

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - Platanaceae

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - POD: Homeless YET Home

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - RETROSPECTION PROJECT / TIME TUNE RADIO

2017 Lexus Design Award Finalist Entry - Traffic Light System

2017 Lexus Design Award - Judge Paola Antonelli

2017 Lexus Design Award - Judge Aric Chen

2017 Lexus Design Award - Judge Toyo Ito

2017 Lexus Design Award - Judge Birgit Lohmann

2017 Lexus Design Award - Judge Alice Rawsthorn

2017 Lexus Design Award - Judge Yoshihiro Sawa

2017 Lexus Design Award - Mentors Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu

2017 Lexus Design Award - Mentor Max Lamb

2017 Lexus Design Award - Mentor Elena Manferdini

2017 Lexus Design Award - Mentor Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen of "Snarkitecture"

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