The Lexus Design Award’s 2020 Finalists

Six innovations offer solutions for problems that include air pollution, visual impairment, flooding and more

Now in its eighth year, the Lexus Design Award honors innovators around the world who formulate clever solutions for everyday challenges. This year’s theme “Design for a Better Tomorrow” prompted applicants “to envision solutions to 21st-century challenges that anticipate, innovate and captivate.” Narrowing the field from more than 2,000 submissions to just six finalists is never an easy process, but this year’s group (from Kenya, Russia, Pakistan, China, the USA and France) impress with their ingenuity, desire to design in order to problem solve, and ability to balance being future-forward and contemporary.

A reward for placing as a finalist includes a workshop with this year’s program mentors: Joe DoucetBethan Gray, Philippe Malouin, and Shohei Shigematsu. The projects will be exhibited as part of the Lexus Design Award Pavilion at this year’s Milan Design Week—from 21-26 April. The program’s judges (Paola Antonelli, Jeanne Gang, Head of Toyota and Lexus Global Design Simon Humphries, and John Maeda), will evaluate each finalist’s work; a winner will be named and awarded production support from Lexus and continued workshopping and development with the mentors.

Potential winning projects and designers include everything from Théophile Peju and Salvatore Cicero’s Feltscape “breathing cloud” made from felt and plastic designed for customizing acoustic and lighting settings, to Sutherlin Santo’s Bio.Scales flexible air filtration system, Yaokun Wu’s Flash Pak life-jacket that can join onto other ones to form a larger grouping or raft, Aqsa Ajmaland’s Pursewit sewing machine for the visually impaired, BellTower’s Open Source Communities and Irina Samoilova’s Lick on-the-go body washer, which employs a cleaning tool akin to a cat’s tongue.

All are already winners in our view, having been selected from such a large group of compelling design solutions. Regardless of which invention wins the grand prize, each of these designs acts as a preview to potential products and concepts that could make significant impacts on users’ lives. For those attending Milan Design Week, an up-close and in-person visit is encouraged.

Images courtesy of Lexus