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Winners of 2019 KI Award selected for London Design Festival showcase

June 27, 2019

Innovations for working & learning spaces of the future

London Design Festival

KI HQ & Showroom open house exhibition: 16-20 September 2019, 09:00-17:30

The winners of the annual KI Award, now in its fourth year, were announced at the Royal College of Art (RCA) graduate show in London. The award and cash prize is given to final year students selected from the RCA's 'Design Products' and the RCA/Imperial College London's 'Innovation Design Engineering' double masters course.

The winning projects showed an outstanding approach to functionality, durability, sustainability and enhancement to user experience for our future working or learning experiences. In addition to the award, each student will be invited to exhibit their works at the KI London HQ for London Design Festival in September 2019.

Jonathan Hindle, Group Managing Director – EMEA, KI comments: "We are delighted to directly support the creative talent on which the future of our industry depends. The UK furniture industry draws much of its competitive advantage from its investment in design, materials and production innovation. By encouraging students to seek careers in our industry, we are laying the foundations for a more prosperous, export- and investment-driven future led by a generation of forward-looking, entrepreneurial individuals."

Royal College of Art/Imperial College London – Innovation Design Engineering

Winner: James Fraser "Solace"

Sustainability, especially around energy generation is more important than ever. Solace integrates solar energy into our everyday lives in an elegant and visible way that will help people see the result of greener energy. Changing colours mimic our own circadian rhythm, enhancing biophilic design and improving the user experience in an office or learning space.

Runner-up: Insiya Jafferjee "Bio Microfactory"

Materials innovation is an exciting area for manufacturers who want to prioritise sustainability and wellness. 'Bio Microfactory' helps to turn an idea into a marketable object by efficiently understanding the natural performance and tendencies of a new bio-material. This can propel innovation and even uncover unexpected attributes of materials manipulated in different ways, uncovering new applications. It is also great for practical learning for students engaged in science or R&D activities.

Runner-up: Nicole Stjernswärd "Kaiku Living Color"

Improving sustainability whilst reducing toxins in our built environment, ‘kaiku color’ aims to displace pigments derived from petrochemicals. This concept both reduces waste to landfill and combats our reliance on non-renewables. Additionally, it is readily suited to biophilic design as all colours are naturally occurring. By replacing existing printer ink, organisations could improve their indoor air quality, which has been shown to improve wellness and productivity.

Runner-up: Ryo Tada "FULU"

Bringing to power of touch to the augmented reality experience has obvious advantages for vision-impaired users. However, this concept could really help in the effective delivery of remote or virtual learning and working. Being able to share ideas effectively across the world is often cited as an important part of the future employment landscape, so these could be both an excellent training and working tool to make this experience better. Combining real-life and simulated touch, in a simple, portable object makes it user-friendly and suitable for occasional use.

Royal College of Art – Design Products

Winner: Ned Quiney "D.M.P."

Exploring a novel production technique for distributed manufacturing, "D.M.P." (Digitally Moulded Plywood) brings together age-old processes with modern technology. Manufacturers looking for ways to create customer-driven solutions could benefit from a prototyping and production system that requires a minimal initial outlay, making customisation of everything from furniture to buildings quicker, easier and more affordable.

Runner-up: Taiho Shin "Purify-able"

Poor air quality is a major contributor to ill-health all over the world, particularly in urban areas. "Purify-able" can be used as a substrate for any surface including furniture, helping to improve indoor air quality, which is often more harmful than the air outside. Working passively to reduce air-borne pollutants, its 'crinkle-cut' pattern improves effectiveness by increasing surface area. If available in a range of colours and textures, it could be readily incorporated into any building project.

Runner-up: Alessandra Romario "Imaginary Language"

As we head into the 'future of work', creative problem-solving and communication skills are often referred to as core skills in a knowledge-based economy. Helping to build these creative skills at a young age, “Imaginary Language” can enhance current learning models. In an increasingly globalised world, understanding shared or differing socio-cultural norms can be a valuable human skill in future generations both in an education and working context.

Runner-up: Rafael El Baz "Reassemble"

The circular economy can dramatically improve sustainability by reducing waste and habitat destruction caused by materials extraction. "Reassemble" presents manufacturers a 'homogenised' set of materials that can be adapted and re-adapted to suit numerous applications. A transformative concept, it could change the way we create and consume products, especially if it can be done flexibly and at scale. This concept goes beyond simply 'upcycling' waste products or materials and allows a more comprehensive repurposing of the ingredients of an object. As our working and learning environments continue to evolve, so too could furniture and fixtures.

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