The numbers don't lie: In 2012, 4,628 construction workers were killed on the job from a number of hazards—falls, scaffold collapse, electric shock, failure to use proper personal equipment. Pensar and Illumagear took note of that last threat and got to work.
The HALO Light is an LED light ring that attaches to a number of hard hat styles for increased visibility—and the Professional Winner in the Equipment category of the 2014 Core77 Design Awards. Take note of that universal fit mention, because according to the designers it wasn't an easy task. "Attaching to any hard hat quickly and easily was a serious challenge," says Pensar's Creative Director Alex Diener. "We evaluated 50+ hardhats to ensure the Halo fits almost any hard hat. The most popular hard hats were scanned and brought into CAD. We held cross-disciplinary brainstorms to explore many options—from ratcheting bands and elastic straps to cam systems. A trial-and-error process of iterative model making followed. There were many failures, but it refined our approach and priorities: simple, no tools and fast to install/remove."
Check out the light in action:
From permanent installations to temporary structures, perhaps no area of design reflects our current cultural disposition more than the deesign of space itself. This year's submissions for the Interiors & Exhibitions category of the 2014 Core77 Design Awards did a fantastic job of reminding us of the many ways it can be interpreted. The jury team, led by Geoff Manaugh, recognized a dozen entries this year, from thought-provoking student concepts to impactful improvements to extant spaces.
Professional Winner: Sustainability Treehouse, by Volume Inc. and Studio Terpeluk
Volume Inc. and Studio Terpeluk teamed up to bring sustainability to an organization known for its commitment to tradition. Not only does their Sustainability Treehouse for the Boy Scouts of America place visitors in a sustainable environment, it also tells a story through important facts and suggestions. "While the project risks falling into kitsch or even cliché, it nonetheless manages to be an imaginative and highly inspiring sequence of spaces for just the right age of user, the young Scouts who are its intended audience," says Jury Captain Geoff Manaugh. "The Treehouse also brings a message of sustainability—of personal responsibility, recognition of one's own environmental limits and respect for the needs of others, both now and in the future—to an organization that might normally skip that message in favor of the Boy Scouts' traditional focus on masculine self-determination. That makes this an important yet playful space, and one that's beautifully designed both architecturally and graphically."
» Learn more about Sustainability Treehouse
Student Winner: Blastproof: A Hands-on Exhibition about Humanitarian Mine Removal, by Chris Natt
Landmines are but a vicarious news item (or metaphor) for most of us, but they are a daily reality for residents of war-torn nations. Royal College of Art student Chris Natt brings us an interactive look into the daily lives of the people responsible for removing the weapons from conflict-affected areas. Throughout the exhibit, visitors can interact with electronic replicas of the devices and experience the visuals that go hand-in-hand with the explosives. "Fascinating R&D with a critical subtext: Reactive training tools that enhance the perception of mine hazards," says juror Hayley Eber. "The museum-based detonation triggers a range of auditory, visual and tactile stimuli to communicate the event. It would be great if the installation could find a permanent home, and the prototypes went beyond 3D printing." Fellow juror Jake Barton appreciates the attention to the sensitive material: "It's really, really hard to make something that horrific be both experiential, impactful, and also respectful. I think it's the right mix and a great achievement."
» Learn more about Blastproof: A Hands-on Exhibition about Humanitarian Mine Removal
Professional Runner Up: Breaking the Mold—VarVac Wall, by HouMinn Practice
It goes unsaid that an architecture school has to be housed within a memorable structure. The University of Minnesota School of Architecture looked to HouMinn Practice to give them a front office worthy of a a few photo ops. The VarVac Wall works specifically with sound—some sections of the wall absorb it while others reflect noise. The ultra-textured surface is made of vacuum-formed panels that are either solid or perforated, depending on their function. "This strikingly realized tweaking of a relatively common manufacturing process shows at least one way for new architectural designs to be realized in the tooling and fabrication stage, where aesthetic results—and these wall panels are definitely gorgeous—emerge less from a designer's own palate and more from the materials themselves," says Manaugh. "On a technical level, as well, this system points toward intriguing future overlaps between the realization of architectural systems and the production of industrial products."
» Learn more about Breaking the Mold—VarVac Wall
Professional Runner Up: Architecture Factory, by Marc O Riain (CIT) and Neil Tobin (RKD)
We live in a time where shipping containers are finding more applications—or at least more media exposure—as trendy space solutions beyond the shipping industry. Marc O'Riain of the Cork Institute of Technology (CIC) and Neil Tobin of RKD Architects have incorporated a series of containers into an open office space plan. Architecture Factory turns the CIC's Department of Architecture into a collaborative space despite the claustrophobic size constraints of a single shipping container. Jurors Yen Ha and Michi Yanagishita appreciated this contrast: "The project presents a different approach to shipping containers by using them not just as containers, but as walls and dividers of space. A great project that defines space without creating barriers, providing visual interest and continuity."
» Learn more about Architecture Factory
Student Runner Up: Cocoon, by Tanya Shukstelinsky
Our living spaces are becoming smaller, but at least our floorplans are keeping up with the trend and more creative ways to embrace (and use every inch of) the space we have are popping up. You won't want to make a permanent home out of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design student Tanya Shukstelinsky's Cocoon, but it is an intriguing look at the way our public spaces define our personal territories. The structure is made of textiles sewn together to create stairs, sleeping areas and other living areas. The jury team had a few situational suggestions for this design: "the implications for things like tent design or portable camping shelters—let alone children's play rooms—are fascinating to consider," says Manaugh. Ha and Yanagishita had another idea: "Cocoon reduces the idea of what it means to be in a space to the bare minimum. Definitely the new hammock for start up tech offices."
» Learn more about Cocoon
When you think about it, the basic forms of quintessential articles of furniture—I'm talking desks, chairs, couches, stools, work lamps and pendant fixtures—largely consist of variations on a theme. As such, furniture designers innovate through the details from new manufacturing methods and materials to integrating functionality that speaks to our mobile, tech-enhanced lifestyles. This much is apparent in seing the honorees for the Furniture & Lighting category of the 2014 Core77 Design Awards.
While the selections from Jury Captain Naihan Li and her Beijing-based jury team may look familiar at first glance, closer inspection reveals that each one is customized to fit a certain lifestyle-driven need.
Professional Winner: Gesture, by Steelcase Design and Glen Oliver Loew
As more and more of us spend more and more time basking in the warm glow of a screen, so too do we spend more time in our office chairs. With these digital tendencies in mind, Glen Oliver Loew designed Gesture for Steelcase (with help from its internal design team). The jury appreciated the chair's origin as a research project: "This project began as a global study on human body gesture and resulted in a stylish chair that will not only carry you comfortably in a work environment, but support you in every move you make while seated. Furniture design can be as advanced as any new technology we use today and an advance in office chair design has the potential to benefit thousands as our lifestyles evolve. By providing a more dynamic support to the body, this chair attempts to encourage movement while we interact with the handheld digital devices we love."
» Learn more about Gesture
Student Winner: SOAK Charging Side Table, by Youmin Vincent Kim
Recently graduated from the Youmin Vincent Kim's SOAK charging station redefines the humble side table as a 'platform' for mobile devices. Furthermore, the Art Center College of Design student cleverly managed to tuck the power supply for the induction charging surface into its very construction: "The leg emerging from the wall to accommodate the main power plug is an artistic solution to the inelegance of wired products. Our daily need to repeatedly charge our digital devices can now be achieved casually by leaving them on a side table—a thoughtful and functional object design that surprises you by the advanced technology embodied within a playful yet elegant form."
» Learn more about SOAK Charging Side Table
Professional Runner Up: Lightwing, by Jean Marie Massaud
Lightwing brings a new level of interaction to the way we illuminate our spaces while remaining relatively inconspicuous. Designed by Jean Marie Massaud for Foscarini, the lamp features adjustable screens, allowing the user to cast a glow wherever it's most needed. The jury noted the artistic aesthetic of the lamp: "Minimalist and elegant, this is a delicate and fluid lighting design. The history of elegance can only be enhanced by new technology, which is the case here where a clever magnetic sphere provides fluid, multi-directional movement as the light transforms from an ambient light to a reading lamp. It utilizes a new LED lighting system and technically advanced industrial production to make a bold and artistic statement in its form and in the interactive nature of the motion the lamp achieves."
» Learn more about Lightwing
Student Runner Up: Dynamik Standing Desk, by Brian Pughe and Conor Brown
Virginia Tech's Brian Pughe and Conor Brown have developed an interesting take on a contemporary trend with the Dynamik Standing Desk. Made from steel and wood, the desk has a sleek appeal for users of all stripes, but it's the the strap of felt that serves as a knee rest that wowed the jury: "Clever usage of something as economical as a belt makes this desk design more than a place to lay your books. It is a simple yet effective solution to rest in public space, allowing one to fully engage with others even if the interaction will last longer than your legs can hold out. This standing desk also gives new function to an existing furniture type with minimum alteration.
» Learn more about Dynamik Standing Desk
Ever more powerful portable devices increasingly enable our always on-the-go lifestyles, yet even the fastest microprocessor needs a power supply, and we find ourselves tethered to outlets in moments of repose, and (mis)managing the wires, cables and cords that serve as veritable lifelines for our power-hungry handhelds. It should come as no surprise that the backup battery industry is booming, but what about the way we reboot at home?
Instead of attempting to achieve invisibility through reduction, Youmin Vincent Kim has seen fit to hide a charger in plain sight. Jury captain Naihan Li and her team recognized the Korean designer's SOAK Charging Side Table as the winner of the Furniture & Lighting category of the 2014 Core77 Design Awards.
Like many of us, Kim was frustrated by ad hoc solutions. "When I see designers try to combine furniture with technological devices—like cords hanging from the center of a work conference table—it ceases to look like furniture to me, or at least it's not something you would want in your home," Kim says. "It's messy and unconstructed." The only thing that betrays SOAK's embedded functionality is its proximity to an outlet, which peeks out from a half-leg that appears to be melting into the wall.
It's not just for show: the back leg conceals a power cord, which is connected to a wireless charging plate embedded in the tabletop. Although the plug itself fits neatly into the hollowed-out dummy leg, a short length of cord offers the flexibility to accommodate different outlet heights. Similarly, Kim is also considering international standards. "There are several types and sizes of electrical outlets depending on what country users live in. I have been working on making the plug universal so that it will work anywhere."
There's something singularly rewarding—magical, even— about sketching an idea, taking stock of materials on hand, crunching numbers on backs of envelopes, and then actually making it into a real thing... which is why we're always excited to see the projects in the DIY category of the Core77 Design Awards. And while many of the honorees seen here can be reproduced, with a bit of time and effort, by any maker out there, Awards duly recognize the folks who came up with them in the first place. Moreover, these projects are fun—which, as well all know, is as one of the most important aspects of DIY culture.
Led by Ayah Bdeir of littleBits, the jury team selected eight projects, which they felt best manifested the vitality and enthusiasm of the DIY community, for top honors this year.
Winner: NeoLucida, by Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin
Inspired by the 19th century Camera Lucida, NeoLucida is a drawing aid that helps artists reproduce subjects by tracing a superimposed image from a prism. The jury was most impressed with Pablo Garcia and Golan Levin's ability to update a historic tool into a modern and functional device: "There is something beautiful about art that allows other people to make art. It takes an old technology that is obsolete, revitalizes it and makes it open and accessible to people everywhere to make for themselves."
» Learn more about Neolucida
Runner Up: Tri-Horse, by Brian Campbell
On a search for stability, woodworker Brian Campbell designed a three-point sawhorse design fro Fine Homebuilding Magazine that faired much better than the quadruped designs out there. Tri-Horse is made completely from plywood and serves a myriad of purposes—from miter saw and table saw stands to a general catch-all station for your portable workspace. The jury appreciated the way the design encourages DIY spirit: "The Tri-Horse takes a very common tool whose flaws we have come to accept and re-engineers it in a simple but effective way. Like the Neolucida, we like tools that empower people to make their own DIY objects."
» Learn more about Tri-Horse