Young Kiwi's design ingenuity takes flight

New Zealand is a small country known for big ideas and the Grand Prix winner of this year’s international Lexus Design Awards demonstrates just that – a portable water distiller with life saving application

The winning design could eliminate distress due to
The winning design could eliminate distress due to water shortage in arid or drought-striken countries.
Henry Glogau wins the 2021 Lexus Design Award
Henry Glogau wins the 2021 Lexus Design Award Grand Prix.

From The Lexus Design Awards

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.

The Portable Solar Distiller – final prototype.
The Portable Solar Distiller – final prototype.

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.”

The sun setting on drought-related suffering.
The sun setting on drought-related suffering.

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.

“ And, 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.”

Grand Prix Winner Announcement

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,” says Lynn. “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.”

Story by: Trendsideas

23 May, 2021

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