UNESCO Challenges Designers to Tackle Social Issues
Italian designer's Yo’Play yogurt packaging doubles as a modular construction toy.
Mairi Beautyman -- Interior Design, 8/7/2007 12:00:00 AM
Can innovative design solve major social dilemmas such as global warming, natural disaster response, and children's education? UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization) and design firm Felissimo recently teamed up to host three international design competitions asking just this question. Open to members of the Design 21: Social Design Network, the Design 21 competitions challenged designers to imagine design with a social conscience that can create positive change in the world.
The initiative drew over 800 entries--from more than 59 countries--addressing social issues in three categories: Heated Issue, which called for an educational campaign to raise awareness of global warming; Child’s Play, which asked participants to create an object inspiring a child to invent his or her own way of playing and interacting; and ShelterMe, which challenged participants to design a temporary, lightweight, strong and easily deployed emergency shelter.
U.S.-based Hawani Lee, is the first prize winner in the Heated Issue category. He rewrote three of Aesop’s fables--The Ant and the Cricket, The Tortoise and the Hare and The North Wind and the Sun--to address environmental change.
In the Child’s Play category, the winning design is Yo’Play by Italian designer Barro de Gast. His yogurt packaging doubles as a modular construction toy, fitting together as hollow, light weight 3D shapes and figures. The design is also a subtle lesson on recycling.
Patrick Wharram took the top prize in the ShelterMe category, with his foldable polyester and aluminum emergency shelter. The easy-to-store unit is fabricated from recycled material and fits up to eight people.
"Innovative design can ultimately change the world for the better," says Haruko Smith, director of Felissimo New York. "Each design within these competitions reflects the range of thinking that is required to make strives toward social change, which is the ultimate mission of DESIGN 21. This is only the beginning of our journey toward change."
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