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Kiwi announced as winner of 2021 Lexus Design Award

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Lexus today announced that "Portable Solar Distiller," a prototype designed by New Zealander Henry Glogau, has won the 2021 Lexus Design Award Grand Prix.

The Lexus Design Awards is a highly recognised international competition that drew 2,079 entries from 66 countries.

Chosen as the project that best encompasses the Awards’ 2021 concept of "Design for a Better Tomorrow," Henry’s Portable Solar Distiller provides clean drinking water from polluted water or sea water, using sunlight as the main tool for conversion. Merging local resource production with community architecture, this low-tech solution also serves as a shaded gathering place.

Andrew Davis, General Manager of Lexus New Zealand, says that to have a Kiwi take out the Grand Prix win is a huge feat, and one that is testament to the high levels of innovation and design talent that exists amongst Kiwi youth.

"It’s great to see a New Zealander take away the Grand Prix title this year - and Henry’s Portable Solar Distiller is unquestionably deserving of the recognition," he says. "As Kiwis, we are constantly exposed to our culture of ingenuity and resourcefulness - but this isn’t always recognised on a global stage. Henry’s win showcases how much homegrown talent emerges from New Zealand, whether they’re living locally or overseas."

Mr. Davis said that fellow Kiwis Jessica Vea and Gayle Lee, who were also nominated as finalists for their concept Heartfelt, deserved to be recognised for their relevant and empathy-driven prototype - designed for people separated from their loved ones due to COVID-19.

Upon receiving the award, Henry Glogau, said, "It’s a great honour to be selected as this year’s Grand Prix winner, and I’d like to say thank you to the judges. When you look at the level and quality of the finalists and their projects and the progress that has been made throughout, any one of us could have been the winner this year. I’d also like to thank the Mentors - their expertise in a variety of fields really strengthened not only our designs but us also as designers. We as finalists will cherish the thought-provoking questions and conversations we had, and we were so fortunate to experience them. And lastly, a massive thank you to Lexus. Being part of a prestigious award like this with a company that is truly passionate about Design for a Better Tomorrow, and which gives up-and-coming designers a platform and solid foundation to build their design futures on is incredible".

After the selection of the Grand Prix winner, Judge Greg Lynn commented on the surprisingly functional elements of Henry’s concept. "Henry was one of the designers who surprised me the most from the application to the final submission. The design became more refined, more functional, and more open source during the process. The ability to produce working prototypes was important to all the participants but to Henry it pointed towards the manifold potential of the system that became much more than just a product or appliance but instead a portable, deployable infrastructure".

The six finalists, selected in January of this year, were mentored by Joe Doucet, Sabine Marcelis, Mariam Kamara, and Sputniko!. These four world-class creators guided the finalists in tackling challenges on the way to the fully refined proposals. The mentoring process was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that is certain to impact each finalist’s career on the international design stage.

Lexus thanks the mentors, all vastly experienced masters of their fields, for generously sharing their specialized knowledge and encouraging the finalists to bring out the full potential of their ideas.

Lexus also pays tribute to Paola Antonelli, Dong Gong, Greg Lynn and Simon Humphries, the elite panels who judged the entries. Their uncompromising standards and incisive analysis make it possible for the Lexus Design Award to fulfil its mission of supporting the next generation of creators.

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