The BraunPrize wrapped up a record year, honoring 39 designs from around the world in their 2012 program. Over 100 design professionals (including former Heads of Braun Design Dieter Rams and Peter Schneider) making up this year's Design Forum gathered at Braun's Frankfurt headquarters today to hear final presentations from 3 Student and 3 Professional/Design Enthusiast finalists to award the winners for 2012's BraunPrize.
Olivier Grabes and Dieter Rams
The jury, consisting of Oliver Grabes (Head of Braun Design) Naoto Fukasawa (Naoto Fukasawa Design), Jane Fulton Suri (Managing Partner IDEO), Dr. Dirk Freund (Director of R&D Braun) and Anne Bergner (Former BraunPrize Winner and Professor of Integrated Product Design at University of Applied Sciences Coburg) had done most of the heavy lifting over 3 days in June. They combed through over 10 kilometers of paperwork (almost 2,400 entries) representing 73 countries from around the world and emerged with 3 finalists for the Student, Professional and Sustainability categories, as well as 15 notable entries from both student and professional entries representing National Winners.
Naoto Fukasawa and Jane Fulton Suri
The Global Gold Winner for the Student category was awarded to Sebastian Reichel for Agil, a flexible walking aid. Using innovative materials and construction, Reichel started with the notion that a walking stick could be an extension of one's arm to provide stability and support. Through careful design research and engineering considerations he found that creating hollow chambers within an "S"-shaped handle allowed for a dynamic and natural motion from the user.
The audience got a special surprise when Dieter Rams raised his hand and approached the podium to do some user testing. Unfortunately, the product on display was just a design display, not a functional prototype. Congratulations to Sebastian on his win! His work sheds light on the importance of designing for the aging population as well as those with disability.
Silver for the Student category was awarded to former boyscout Jussi Koskimäki for his First Aid Cover, an emergency blanket that can provide basic CPR and aid guide to timid bystanders in an emergency situation. The Cover could be distributed through first aid kits and emergency locations in public places. Bronze went to Dirk Hessenbruch for Mo, a flexible bike share and urban mobility system (as seen on Core77).
The Global Gold Winner for the Professional/Enthusiast category went to Känguru, designed by Berlin-based designer Oliver Klein. The father of two designed a baby carrier and bicycle seat in one as a "mobility concept for the urban context with Infant." While presenting his concept to the Design Forum, Klein shared his 6 driving design considerations: Ergonomic transition between baby carrier and bike seat, a lightweight frame design that was inspired by the hollow bone structure of birds, a quick and easy bike mount, tool-free disassembly for easy cleaning and care, and an option for custom-made frames through rapid prototyping. I particularly liked the adjustable sling for the baby that can accomodate children as they grow from 6-24 months.
This year's finalists reflect the rapid shifts occuring in the field of industrial design. Although all awardees had physical products on display in the BraunPrize gallery, often the physicality belied more complex interactions and systems that served as an undergirding for the design. Hessenbruch's Mo touches on service design while SWYP's true innovation lies in its interface. ENTO (also awardees in the Core77 Design Awards Program), created a roadmap to shift consumer demand—the artifacts are by-products of that campaign. Simultaneously, it's interesting to note that the Global Gold winners can find predecessors in two of the finalists from the 2009 BraunPrize included a walking aid and a baby carrier.
Left to Right: Anne Bergner, Phil Duncan (Global Design Officer, P&G), Jane Fulton Suri, Soon-In Lee (President of ICSID), Naoto Fukasawa, Olivier Grabes
The BraunPrize, established in 1968, was Germany's first international industrial design competition recognizing the work of young designers. In it's 18th program year, the team at Braun have worked hard to revitalize the BraunPrize with a couple of key changes that have proven to be quite successful. The most impactful change is that 2012 is the first year that the BraunPrize is open to everyone. Professionals and Design Enthusiasts were encouraged, along with the traditional focus on students, to submit "Genius Design for a Better Every Day." Additionally, this year's program honored National Winners, notable entries within geographic regions in both the Student and Professional/Design Enthusiast categories. A separate Sustainability category was also included—this year saw two student notables and one professional notable. With the broadening scope of this year's BraunPrize, the prize money also doubled to a whopping $100,000USD. We look forward to seeing what every day design looks like at the 2015 BraunPrize!
See Core77's Coverage of Previous BraunPrize Awards: