Designing Back to the Future: 2011 WT Awards

Design is always evolving, and while the latest Salone Internazionale del Mobile, which ran from April 12 – 17 in Milan, may have come to close this weekend, it’s no question that the designs presented at the 2011 WT Award exhibit at the exhibition’s Well-Tech Observatory pavilion will continue to inspire.

Now in it’s 11th year, the program presented to Salone attendees 60 design innovations that address the values of innovation, accessibility, sustainability, and quality of life. Nine winners in total were chosen across the range of categories, but here are a couple of the designs that directly apply to architecture and interior design:

QUAL11_Masdar-City,-the-Oasis-of-the-Future 
"Masdar City, the Oasis of the Future,” a planned underground city in Abu-Dhabi, designed by LAVA, will rely solely on solar and wind energy. The town will occupy 6 sq. km. (20,000 ft. sq.) of space and offer a system of shuttle stations and tracks, in light of cars, for a zero carbon transportation system, as well as house 50,000 people, 1500 businesses, and the new Masdar Institute of Science and Technology University. http://www.l-a-v-a.net/

Acc11_Tarta_Design_Tarta 
Designed by Tarta, this ergonomic backrest is lightweight, flexible, and elastic but also compact and durable. The modular dish style of the design allows for a custom build and individual fit that can improve the posture of users, from disabled people in wheelchairs to office workers. The system is convenient for application in lounge, sofa, or armchair seating, as well. http://www.tartadesign.it/

But why stop there? View all the 2011 WT Award winners and entrants at the WT Awards Web site. Some of the other entrants you may like to check out include:

Sost11_Disko_SU1_sun-unit-one_Heimdall 
Combining technology with sleek design, Heimdall presents a new outdoor speaker system. The luminous and wireless design is freestanding and solar-powered, with an operable remote transmitter control that can be synced to Smartphones and laptops. The aesthetic cylinder can be made from an assortment of materials—including resin, marble, wood—and features a touch screen. http://www.heimdall.it/

Sost11_Photovoltaic-Floor_Onyx-Solar 
The new Energy-Photovoltaic Walkable Pavement from Onyx Solar is comprised of photovoltaic glass ceramic is integrated into the floor. The innovative product, which stores solar energy to be used inside nearby buildings, is pressure-resistant to weathering and performs like a normal floor tile. http://www.onyxsolar.com/

SOT09_revolution-door 
The Revolution Door by Fluxxlab modifies the traditional revolving door. Consisting of three main elements—an central pivot (that can replace each new or already installed port), a mechanical/electrical system to collect the rotary kinetic energy, and an electrical energy device that displays the amount of energy generated. http://www.fluxxlab.com/

What are your favorite design innovations? Share your thought with us in the comments below.

 –Stacy Straczynski

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