Final Proposals Unveiled for Lexus Design Award 2021

Designs for a Better Tomorrow Compete for Grand Prix Honours

TORONTO, Ontario – Wednesday, April 14, 2021 – Lexus today unveiled the refined proposals of the six finalists of the Lexus Design Award 2021, a global competition recognized for nurturing the next generation of creatives. The finalists were chosen from 2,079 submissions from 66 countries, using Lexus’ three key design principles - Anticipate, Innovate and Captivate - as judging criteria. The finalists have been mentored by Joe Doucet, Sabine Marcelis, Mariam Kamara, and Sputniko!, who helped bring each proposal to fruition with the intent of leading to a Better Tomorrow.

Mentorship is a uniquely attractive core element of the Lexus Design Award. Six finalists are given the irreplaceable once in-a-lifetime experience of being mentored directly by world class creators. Mentors provide diverse perspectives and help finalists refine their ideas through continued discussion. Nurtured by the synergy of the finalists' insatiable curiosity and the mentors' passion, each idea has evolved into an even more innovative proposal within the short timeof about three months.

 “I'm impressed by the amount of work the finalists have been able to do in such a short time.They have really taken the advice and feedback we have given them in astride, and showed a lot of passion anddedication in pushing their ideas to be all that they can be,” said Mariam Kamara, Mentor.“It is obvious they care about the effect and impact their work can have, and it definitely comes across. The deep level of compassion they all show is absolutely commendable. I'm really staggered by everything they've been able to achieve.”

The six finalists will present their final proposals to a jury of renowned design leaders: Paola Antonelli, Dong Gong, GregLynn and Simon Humphries. One Grand Prix winning design will be announced on April 27th, marking the climax of thisedition of the Lexus Design Award.


  • CY-BO by Kenji Abe (Japan)

Sustainable, reusable packaging material that can be assembled like cells.

  • Heartfelt by Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea (New Zealand & Tonga, based in New Zealand)

A device that reimagines what being ‘present’ means in an isolated world.

  • InTempo by Alina Holovatiuk (Ukraine)

Phone cover and app that may help distract from stressful situations by novel usage of rhythm and music.

  • KnitX by IrmandyWicaksono (Indonesia, based in USA)

Digital 3-D knitting of electronic textiles for immersive multi-modal gestural, auditory and tactile material interaction.

  • Portable Solar Distiller by Henry Glogau (Dual New Zealand & Austria, based in Denmark)

A portable and low-tech Solar Distiller, which merges water production with community architecture.

  • Terracotta Valley Wind by Intsui Design (China, based in Japan)

A terracotta evaporative cooling system for subway stations utilizing train-induced wind to function.

For more information, please visit

Official Hashtag: #lexusdesignaward

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Launched in 2013, the Lexus Design Award is an international competition for up-and-coming creators from around the world. The Award seeks to contribute to society by supporting designers and creators whose work shows potential to shape a better future. Six finalists gain a rare opportunity to prototype their designs under the mentorship of leading designers. The Lexus Design Award provides global media exposure to drive professional career advancement.




Title of work


CY-BO is a new form of cytologically-inspired packaging material that can transform into various shapes by combining the pieces together. Infinitely reusable and rearrangeable, it can be converted into all manner of products for different applications depending on the ideas of the user.



Kenji Abe

Kenji Abe is a graduate of the Tama Art University Product Design Department, who now works as a product designer based in Tokyo. While designing imaging products professionally, he also pursues personal design activities. He is curious about creating a better tomorrow for humans, nature, animals and the earth, andwishes to propose beautiful solutions to the problems we face.



Title of work


Heartfelt explores what ‘being present’ might look like during the age of a pandemicand seeks to assist with the anxiety and emotional stresses of being in isolation. The device reflects the heartbeat of your loved one, and promotes psychological support and personal connection.



Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea
New Zealand

Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea are recent Bachelor of Creative Technologies graduates from Auckland University of Technology. They are passionate about creating meaningful products that help others and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration between different fields and practices. They are hoping to start their Master of Creative Technologies degrees in 2021.



Title of work


InTempo is an app and phone cover that aids people facing emotional stress (e.g. panic attacks, sociophobia) in public spaces / during public actions. Touching spots on the phone cover in time with music may help people calm themselves down.



Alina Holovatiuk

Alina Holovatiuk is a young architect from Kyiv, Ukraine. She is currently continuing her studies and research at Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture in the Information Technologies in Architecture Department. Her approach to design is based on special attention to human emotions and their perception of the world.



Title of work


KnitX explores the boundaries between electronics, textiles, and musical interfaces,imbuing interactivity to everyday fabrics. The result is a musical cloth that responds to tactile and proxemic gestures and an interactive carpet that evokes the bidirectionality between dance and music.



Irmandy Wicaksono
Indonesia / Based in USA

Irmandy Wicaksono is an electrical and textile engineer and designer. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Responsive Environments, MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on developing soft and textile-based electronics for variousapplications ranging from health and well-being, human-computer interaction to interactive media and environments.



Title of work

Portable Solar Distiller

A low-tech solution utilizing sunlight to distill polluted and sea water. The portable design merges local resource production with community architecture, providing freshwater and a shaded gathering place. A lightweight, versatile structure configurable in different ways and materials, adapting to local environments and user needs.



Henry Glogau
Dual New Zealand – Austria / Based in Denmark

Henry Glogau is a New Zealander who recently graduated from the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark. His master’s degree specialized in Architecture and Extreme Environments, where he explored present and future global challenges in expeditions to diverse locations. Henry is now working as an Architect at GXN, the green innovation unit of 3XN.



Title of work

Terracotta Valley Wind

A terracotta evaporative cooling system that cools subway stations during summer and reduces energy consumption. Terracotta is an inexpensive and accessible clay material. Its porous nature allows water to quickly evaporate, while utilizing the unused wind resource in subway stations, maximizing the value of train-induced wind.



Intsui Design (China /Based in Japan)
YileiLyu, Chenkai Guo, Baohua Sheng, Yu Zhang

Intsui Design is a design group based in Tokyo. They are currently pursuing aMastersdegree at Tama Art University in the Integrated Design department. They explorethe relationship between subconscious human behaviours and design. Their designpractice focuses on people’s intuition and natural responses to objects and theenvironment.





Paola Antonelli is Senior Curator of Architecture & Design at The Museum of

Modern Art, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. Hergoal is to promote design’s understanding, until its positive influence on the world isuniversally acknowledged. Her work investigates design’s impact on everydayexperience, often including overlooked objects and practices, and combining design,architecture, art, science, and technology.

She has curated shows, written books, lectured worldwide, and taught in severalschools, including Harvard and UCLA. Following the XXII Triennale di Milano in 2019––Broken Nature, devoted tothe idea of restorative design, now on view in reduced format at The Museum of Modern Art–– she has opened atMoMA the exhibition Material Ecology, on the work of architect NeriOxman. She is currently working on several newsessions of her MoMA R&D Salons; and on the Instagram series @design.emergency––conceived with design criticAlice Rawsthorn––devoted to the role of design in the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond.



Dong Gong founded Vector Architects in 2008. He and Vector Architects have been invitedto various exhibitions including 2018 FREESPACE Venice Biennale, and won awardsinternationally including "100+ Best Architecture Firms" selected by Domus (2019); beingnominated by Swiss Architectural Award (2018); the Overall Winner of Italian ArchmarathonAwards (2016); "Design Vanguard" selected by Architectural Record (2014).

He has been invited as a guest speaker and critic by universities, academic and professionalinstitutions including Tsinghua University (China), University of Illinois (USA), Swiss FederalInstitute of Technology Zurich (Switzerland), Société Française des Architectes (France), etc.In 2019, the renowned architectural journal AV Monographs published a monograph ofVector Architects titled "Cosmopolitan Vernacular" (vol.220).

His representative works include Seashore Library, Seashore Chapel, Alila Hotel in Yangshuo, the Renovation of theCaptain’s House, Changjiang Art Museum, and Suzhou Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum.



Greg Lynn is the founder and owner of Greg Lynn FORM and co-founder and CEOat the robotics company Piaggio Fast Forward. In addition to buildings he has designedhigh performance sailboats, high technology robots, as well as furniture and consumerproducts for Vitra, Alessi, Swarovski, and Nike. He has served on numerous corporateexecutive and advisory boards and is a member of the Board of Trustees of theCanadian Centre for Architecture.

He won the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale of Architecture and represented theUnited States in the American Pavilion at the Venice Biennale of Architecturetwice. He received the American Academy of Arts & Letters Architecture Award and was awarded a fellowship fromUnited States Artists. He is currently o. Univ. Prof. Arch. at the angewandte Wien and Studio Professor at UCLA. Hewas the Davenport Professor at Yale University, Professor of Spatial Conception at the ETHZ, adjunct faculty atColumbia University and visiting faculty at Harvard GSD. He is the author of nine books.



Simon Humphries is Head of Toyota & Lexus Global Design. He was appointed to overseedesign for both brands in 2018. As Head of Lexus Global Design Humphries seeks to defineLexus' unique values in the form of a brand philosophy, incorporating a clear culturalreference to Lexus' Japanese heritage and building a design direction that is relevant to usersaround the world.

Humphries joined the company in 1994. His many roles in leadership and advanced designinclude defining the signature spindle grille that has become an icon for the Lexus brand. In2016 he became President of ED2 (Toyota Europe Design Development) where his teamspearheaded development of mobility concepts such as the Toyota e-Palette concept as partof the brand’s transition from an “automotive company” to a “mobility company.” Humphries beganhis career in design in 1988 when he was awarded the Royal Society of Arts Bursary Prize for Product Design in theU.K. The award gave him the opportunity to work for Sony, which jumpstarted his passion for living and working in Japan.In his spare time Humphries enjoys carpentry and is restoring a 100-year-old Japanese farmhouse.





A designer, entrepreneur, inventor and creative director, Joe Doucet is one of the most sought-after creative talents working in the United States today. His work deftly hybridizes function and visual appeal while conveying layers of meaning and message. Doucet believes that design and, more importantly, a designer’s thought process, can play a larger role in innovation and problem solving, as well as aesthetics. He currently holds numerous patents for his designs and inventions.

Doucet’s work has been exhibited globally and has received numerous international awards, including a WorldTechnology Award for Design Innovation and multiple Good Design Awards. Doucet was named the 2017 Winner of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award as Product Designer—the highest honour in his field. He is also Designer of the Year 2019 finalist by Dezeen, and a recipient of Fast Company’s Most Important Design Companies of 2019.



Mariam Kamara, an architect from Niger, studied architecture at the University of Washington. In 2014, Kamara founded atelier masōmī, an architecture and research practice tackling public, cultural, residential, commercial and urban design projects. Kamara believes that architects have an important role to play in creating spaces that elevate, dignify, and provide people with a better quality of life. Collaborative project, Hikma Religious and Secular Complex, won the 2017 Gold LafargeHolcim Award for Africa and Middle East, and 2018 Silver GlobalLafargeHolcim Award for Sustainable Architecture. An upcoming project, the Niamey Cultural Centre, is designed by Kamara under mentorship of Sir David Adjaye as part of the Rolex Mentor and Protégé programme. 2019 saw Kamara named as a Laureate of the Prince Claus Award and a 2019 Royal Academy of Arts Dorfman Awards finalist. 2020 saw The New York Times name her as one of 15 Creative Women of Our Time. atelier masōmī made its debut on the 2021 AD100 list.



Sabine Marcelis is a Dutch designer who runs her practice from the harbour of Rotterdam. After graduating from the Design Academy of Eindhoven in 2011, Marcelis began working as an independent designer within the fields of product, installation and spatial design with a strong focus on materiality. Her work is characterized by pure forms which highlight material properties. Marcelis applies a strong aesthetic point of view to her collaborations with industry specialists. This method of working allows her to intervene in the manufacturing process, using materialresearch and experimentation to achieve new and surprising visual effects for projects bothshowcased in musea and commissioned by commercial clients and fashion houses.

Sabine recently won the prestigious Wallpaper awards ‘Designer of the year 2020’, The Elle Deco International Design award 2019 'Young designer of the year’ and ‘GQ Men of the year 2019’ International Artist of the year.



Sputniko! is a British-Japanese artist and speculative designer based in Tokyo. She creates film and multimedia installation works which explore the social and ethical implications of emerging technologies, especially in the themes of gender and sexuality. She has presented her works in exhibitions such as the 2016 Setouchi Art Triennale, Milan International Design Triennale, Broken Nature (2019), Future and Arts at the Mori Art Museum (2019). From 2013 to 2017, Sputniko! Was an Assistant Professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she founded and directed the Design Fiction research group. She is currently an Associate Professor of Design at Tokyo University of the Arts. To date, she has had pieces included in the permanent collections of museums such as the

V&A and the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.


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