This week, Dwell Magazine hosted the first ever Modern World Awards at its annual Dwell on Design conference in Los Angeles. Each year, the conference exhibits new, modern, often eco-friendly products and designs seen in the magazine, but this year, official awards were given to winners in five categories: Work, Eat, Live, Create and Play. Dwell selected 25 international finalists – five in each category – and then chose five winners from the finalist pool. One more prize, the People’s Choice award, was determined by website users, who voted on the finalists to choose a winner.
The award itself was a natural cherry wood cube with Dwell’s logo on one face, and a bright pink and blue stylized “M” and “W” on two other faces, to represent the words “Modern” and “World”. The winner’s name and category were inscribed on the fourth face. Dwell’s creative director, Kyle Blue, wanted the award to be “iconic and playful” and chose natural wood in order to “use a simple, humble material and let the products pop off of that”.
The winner of the Work category was the Emeco 111 Navy chair, made from 111 recycled plastic bottles (shown above). A product of a partnership with Coca-Cola, the chair was constructed as a result of a proposal by the soft drink company, whose goal was to exhibit the versatility of recycled plastic. Citing statistics that Americans recycle a mere 20% of plastic PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles, Coca-Cola wanted Pennsylvania-based Emeco to make a chair from a newly developed formula of recycled PET (rPET) bottles and glass fibers for strength. The chair, in a classic, linear dining-chair design, is available in six colors and can be used outdoors. The lightweight chair is modeled after the 1006 Navy Emeco chair that was made in 1944 from 80% recycled aluminum. Its name is derived from the US Navy, who commissioned the chair during World War II out of a desire for extremely durable chairs that could withstand wartime damages to naval vessels, including torpedo blasts.
At the top of the Eat category was the brightly colored Fyrkat Picnic Charcoal Grill by Danish housewares company Bodum. The grill is designed for small spaces, and its locking lid makes it easy to carry to a picnic for grilling meat or veggies. The pint-sized grill is 15 inches wide, weighs only 7.6 pounds and has a silicone handle that stays cool to the touch.
The prize for the Live category went to the Mangas rug by Patricia Urquiola. This collection of rugs, designed for Spanish textiles company Gan, feature bold colors mixed with black and white in a familiar sweater knit design. The long, thin rugs are made with virgin wool, and incorporate both linear and round shapes.
The winner of the Create category, as well as the Best of Show award, was the Softwall, a privacy wall by Vancouver-based Molo Design. The thin, curvy divider expands to a length of up to 25 feet to accommodate different room lengths. LED lights incorporated into the wall offer an ambient glow, and the wall’s flexible honeycomb material is made of fire-retardant paper and textiles. The freestanding wall comes in white or black, which is dyed with bamboo charcoal, and also comes in a modular block design that allows consumers to create their own wall.
A simple but innovative bicycle shelf took home both the People’s Choice award and the award for the Play category. Chris Brigham, a San Francisco designer, builder, and founder of design company Knife & Saw created the shelf as a solution to the problem of indoor bike storage — the shelf raises bikes up off of the floor, granting more floor space to cramped apartment quarters. The shelf is a rectangular block of ash or walnut wood, with a horizontal notch in the middle to hold the bike and a flat surface on top to hold books, keys, wallets, or other small items.
Other finalists included the Come and Draw by Tian Tang Design, a circular children’s table with tear-off sheets of drawing paper attached; the Ernest ZigZag Pouffe by Donna Wilson for SCP, a patterned knit ottoman; and a designer bike by Public Bikes. The panel of judges included representatives from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Center College, and the SCI-Arc architecture school.
Photo credit: www.emecowithcoke.com