Mentors make the difference for the Lexus Design Award 2023 winners

17 March 2023

The Lexus Design Award is unique in providing its winners with personal guidance from internationally respected designers on how to develop their concepts. The four winners in the 2023 award have been taking part in these exclusive mentorship sessions, giving them valuable insights into how their ideas can be transformed into successful, workable products.  

This year, the four mentors are solar artist Marjan van Aubel, multidisciplinary designer Joe Doucet, sound artist Yuri Suzuki, and architect Sumayya Vally 

In the past few weeks, the winners have worked individually with Vally, on research and narrative, and Suzuki, on design. All have commented positively on how their advice is helping them develop the potential of their concepts. 

Pavels Hedström is preparing to travel to Chile’s Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth, for the first test of his Fog-X prototype. This is a portable device that collects fog to produce drinking water. His idea of Fog-X came from the simple fact that water shortage is an issue of human rights. Many companies and industries are addressing this problem, but he wanted to see what he could do as an individual.  

Pavels said: “A lot of things have happened in the past few weeks, but now I think we’re going to be pressing the pedal as I have a clearer direction for my work, thanks to the great support from the mentors.” 

Jiaming Liu is an award winner with the Print Clay Humidifier, a 3D-printed object made from recycled ceramic waste. He was inspired by his childhood experience living in a concrete and hard clay building during hot and dry summers, where they used to pour water on the highly absorbent walls. His project is now being tested for the quality of its texture and structure. 

Jiaming commented: “Sumayya made many good suggestions and gave me a better direction. Yuri pointed out how I needed to improve my storytelling. This is necessary because this project is very complicated so I need to brush up the narrative to tell the story behind it. They both gave me a lot of confidence to continue my work.” 

Entering the award as Temporary Office, designers Vincent Lai and Douglas Lee are winners with Touch the Valley, a 3D topographic puzzle. The project came from a combination of their professional experience in making models for clients that needed to be transported and their personal interest in playing board games.  

Following their mentorship experience with Yuri, Vincent and Douglas were able to give their project a new focus, directing it specifically towards visually impaired people. They said: “The sessions with Sumayya and Yuri were like wake-up calls for us that reminded us of a lot of important things, and we really appreciate them. Marjan made a lot of good suggestions, but we need time to consider making variations of the puzzles and testing them. If it works well, we would like to talk to her about we can make the puzzles better.” 

Kyeongho Park and Yejin Heo are further researching how their award-winning Zero Bag – clothing packaging that dissolves in water and acts as a detergent – might be used in real-world industries and what materials would be appropriate in each case. Their work was inspired by a desire to find new ways of reducing waste from packaging.  

They commented: “After the session with Sumayya, we are sure about the three directions of how Zero Bag can be used, but are not sure if they will persuade consumers. We would like to see how other people react, especially professionals. Yuri pointed out it’s really important to show the identity of Zero Bag again. The concept is very different from what people are familiar with, so in the coming few weeks, we are going to work on how to tell people about its unique qualities, to give our work a strong identity.” 

All four winners will have their prototype designs given a high-profile public display as part of Lexus’s activities at the 2023 Milan Design Week, from 17 to 23 April*. 


Note to editors: – 

The Lexus Design Award 2023 winners will be on view at Superstudio Più, Via Tortona 27, Milan. A private viewing for media and guests will take place on 17 April prior to public opening. The space will also be showing Shaped by Air, a new art installation by Suchi Reddy inspired by Lexus design and craftsmanship. 

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Mentors make the difference for the Lexus Design Award 2023 winners


Images are copyright free for editorial purposes only

3D-printed non-electric humidifier
Zero bag
Mobile habitat that turns fog into drinking water
Touch the valley

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