A series of awards including Bloggers' Choice, Top Green Products and Product Excellence were presented to exhibitors at the August New York International Gift Show (NYIGF), which closed last week.
“Bloggers’ Choice Awards” went to eight products for representing “urgent, odd and delightful design.” The judges – bloggers from noted design and trend-watching sites – each selected one product, from thousands presented by some 200 exhibitors in the Accent on Design division, a juried collection of contemporary and innovative product.
“Innovation in product design is a hallmark of Accent on Design,” said Belshaw. “These front line design bloggers have selected the true stand-outs among exceptionally-designed products.”
The eight bloggers, and the products each identified as the “next big thing,” are:
Heather Clawson, Habitually Chic: Eleven Design Studio (Miami, FL) for Twoolies. “Their adorable 100% natural wool animals are completely handmade by artisans in the highlands of south Mexico. The company relies on artistic trends, materials and techniques from the regions in which they are made. Every piece is a unique combination of textures, colors and patterns that make them all one of a kind and super cute!”
Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, Apartment Therapy: Pablo (San Francisco, CA) for The Clamp Lamp by Dana Canaan. “This is one of the simplest, most elegant and fresh designs I have seen in years. And it is practical and by using LED – it’s green.”
Hollister Hovey, Hollister Hovey: Mira Design Corp. / D-Torso (New York, NY) for D-Torso gigantic cardboard giraffe. “If a child ever received this die cut kit – and got to put it together and then fall asleep with this cardboard creature looking over the bed every night – they’d be the coolest, most imaginative kid in school…the happiest. It’s a puzzle, a piece of art and totally show-stopping."
Glen Jackson Taylor, Core77: Caleb Siemon (Santa Ana, CA) for Growlight designed by Carmen Salazar. “As a New Yorker living in a small dark apartment, the Growlight immediately resonated. Super minimal, it solves two interior issues for the space conscious dweller at once: light and greenery. The glass planter is removable, allowing you to re-pot outside and swap out plants to change the look of commercial interiors such as restaurants and building lobbies. The light bulb is full spectrum to help the plants grow and, best of all, it’s hand made in California from materials that will last and age well.”
Marisa Marcantonio, Stylebeat: Serene House (Sturtevant, WI) for Donut. “It is a new take on home fragrance that provides a sensory experience. Shaped like a donut, the piece releases a fragranced water vapor, has LED lights that change color and plays music from your ipod. It is a great way to unplug and escape everyday stressors. It is a modern clean design in a product that helps well being and appeals to the senses. The piece looks great, while performing a variety of functions, proving a luxurious escape.”
Danielle McWilliams, Design-Calendar: NATIVE UNION (Hermosa Beach, CA) for its PLAY. I love its compact playful shape and user friendly interface. The video memo pad is a clever and more personal alternative to traditional pen and paper. What a great new way to leave a message for a friend or colleague.
Stephanie Murg, UnBeige: Brinca Dada (New York, NY) for Brinca Dada Blocks. “Modernist dollhouse maker Brinca Dada brings its flair for architectural fun to building blocks with a set of curvy, asymmetric wooden shapes that will inspire kids to think outside of the Lego box. ‘I wanted a set of blocks that could be rearranged and made to look like a Frank Gehry Building,’ founder and CEO Douglas Rollins told us.”
Kate Reynolds McLeod, Daily Grommet: LO-RES LABS (Mill Valley, CA) for Paper Punk. “As a completely modern update to paper modeling kits and tangram puzzles, Paper Punk's pop-out shapes nurture creativity and spatial thinking. Grace is the perfect person to introduce this product line, and it will become an instant classic — a go-to gift for kids, makers, geometry and design lovers, and everyone else, too.”
Top Green Products
The 4th semi-annual Eco Choice Awards, co-sponsored by NYIGF and GREENRetailer magazine, were bestowed to “green” gift and home products in three categories – Most Innovative, Most Sensitive Use of Materials and Most Sellable.
Retailers attending NYIGF voted to determine the winners among some 200 “green” products in NYIGF’s SustainAbility: design for a better world® display.
“We asked market-goers to pick their favorite ‘green’ products, based on inventiveness, newness, aesthetics and functionality,” said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president.
The winners of the 4th semi-annual Eco Choice Awards are:
Most Innovative: One World Projects, Recycled Plastic Laundry Hamper from India. This multipurpose basket was handmade in India from recycled plastic. The salvaged plastic strands are created by melting recycled plastic bottles and other bits of plastic waste gathered in the slums of Chennai, India. This company is an original member of the Fair Trade Federation, and supports socially and economically deprived women from urban slum areas by offering vocational training and micro-credit loan opportunities, as well as programs that focus on education and building self-responsibility and confidence.
Most Sensitive Use of Materials: ES, Chilote House Shoe, Chilote House Shoe. Local wool from free range Patagonian sheep and tanned natural salmon skin are the only materials used to manufacture this product. It is made of 100% natural, biodegradable materials, and is hand-assembled by self organized groups of artisan women in the south of Chile. Strict fair trade and ethical production principles are followed, and a highly inclusive production process provides a fair and noble way for low-income families to earn a living and raise their quality of life. The process addresses the synergy of three aspects of sustainability: ecologically benign, socially beneficial, and financially viable.
Most Sellable: I Design Distribution, KISM. This product is made from ecological materials obtained from production waste, reusing trash as a means to safeguard the environment. It’s a patented material made of natural and recycled paper fibers. Yael Rosen started Kisim in 1999 inspired by the simple solutions of Japanese fabric design and the traditional leather craftsmanship of the Middle East. KISIM collection is characterized by connection evolving across time and changes, color and shape, texture and dimension.
The final awards category was for products that combine form and function with exemplary design. “Across product categories, these Accent on Design participants have incorporated superlative design qualities which stand above an already impressive collection,” said Belshaw.
The Accent on Design Selection Committee members are: Miguel Calvo of Calvo.co; Ilene Shaw of Shaw + Co! Productions; Kathy Thornton-Bias of MoMA; Wilma Wabnitz of Wabnitz Editions; and Laura Young of Areaware.
Excellence in Product Design:
Flux (Amsterdam, Netherlands) for Flux Chair, weighing less than 10 pounds and available in eight colors, the Flux Chair supports 300 pounds and takes furniture to the 21st century with a clever combination of the practical advantages of foldable furniture and the looks of a classic design chair.
Excellence in Product Design:
Alessi (New York, NY) for Tèo, an innovation on the typology of the tea spoon, in addition to its normal function, the 18/10 stainless steel Tèo makes it possible, after tea is ready, to remove the bag from the cup and gently squeeze it, pulling it up through the hollow handle.
Best Booth Presentation:
Mio (Philadelphia, PA) for its wall to ceiling booth presentation made of its own environmentally and socially sustainable products including Paperforms, modular 3D wallpaper tiles made from recycled paper; Crystal Drop Ceiling modules made from recycled cardboard that provide a cost effective and dramatic solution for spaces that require suspended ceilings; and Nomad System, a modular architectural system made from recycled, double-wall cardboard that can be assembled into freestanding, temporary partitions without hardware, tools or damage to existing structures.
Urban Butik (Montreal, Quebec) for the Born in Sweden collection which combines highly innovative design with simple product solutions. The collection includes a minimalist coat rack crafted from a single piece of rigid, powder coated steel; a streamlined, lockable mailbox in molded fiberglass features a separation lid inside that can be removed to increase storage capacity; and functional, practical and aesthetically pleasing watering cans made of 18-0 stainless steel.