Innovation in the In-Between

With today’s rapidly dissolving boundaries in design, it’s appropriate that more and more design programs are exploring the possibilities in between disciplines. At last year’s Core77 conference, the theme of co-creation explored this idea, and at the 2017 Milan Design Week, Lexus highlighted their own brand commitment to finding innovation in the in-between spaces. Now in it’s fifth year, the Lexus Design Award engages emerging designers to consider design as a tool to build a better tomorrow and this year’s theme focused on the theme of “Yet.” 

“By harmonizing contradictory elements, ‘Yet’ opens up visionary frontiers of progressive design and technology to deliver amazing new experiences to the world,” the press materials explain. From over a thousand entries from 62 countries, 12 finalists were chosen to present their ideas at the Triennale Design Museum in Milan during the Salone del Mobile. Of the finalists, four were selected to prototype their designs with mentorship from design heavyweights including Neri & Hu, Max Lamb, Elena Manferdini and Snarkitecture. 

PIXEL by Hiroto Yoshizoe

The winner chosen amongst the four prototyped projects was Hiroto Yoshizoe’s PIXEL, mentored by Snarkitecture, an architectural structure that creates an experience of “light YET shadow.” Employing a screen of repeating visors, PIXEL combines the digital and physical experience in a unique and poetic way by repeated, internal reflection of colored LED lights. Daniel Arsham of Snarkitecture shares that the project, “references architectural traditions and precedent like the idea of an architectural screen but does this in a simple way. It also has a strong relationship between digital technology and in contrast, in a sort of analog way, directs the tactile experience.” By pixelizing imagery and translating it onto the screen, Yoshizoe’s project becomes both a screen and a device for diving space and connecting users at the same time.


Player’s Pflute by Jia Wu // Mentored by Max Lamb

Inspired by her friend, a music teacher’s struggle to find ways to engage her young students, Wu designed a set of tools to transform fruits and vegetables into musical instruments. A “vegetable YET a musical instrument,” the Player’s Pflute encourages children to create music through a highly improvisational and exploratory instrument-making process. Not only can children assemble their own musical instrument, but it also lowers the financial barrier of buying a musical instrument to give all children access to music education and play.

Having Nothing, and Yet Possessing Everything by Ahran Won // Mentored by Neri & Hu

This modular capsule of individual crates contains everything one would need for everyday living while allowing for optimal mobility. Stackable and multifunctional, each crate can be allocated to a specific task—cooking, washing, sleeping—and reappropriated as one’s needs shift in a nomadic lifestyle.

Structural Color by Jessica Fugler // Mentored by Elena Manferdini

Structural Color is a tile-based architectural system that allows users to change the pattern and color by simply rotating the tiles within the object. Based on a natural phenomenon by the same name, Fugler was inspired by the ways that colors are perceived differently depending on the angle of each cell and the light—think butterfly wings or bird feathers. “Static YET changing,” the individual tiles have different colors for each side and by a short rotation, large-scale structures or facades can be altered with little manual intervention.

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