Six Transformative Solutions Harness the Power of Design Innovation to Build a Better Tomorrow

Lexus announced today the names of the six Lexus Design Award finalists for 2019. This year’s finalists employed technology in even more creative ways to spark new ideas and conceptualize transformative solutions that have the power to change lives. Most of the solution concepts below looked to address the challenges of tomorrow today including biodegradable materials, renewable energy sources and reduction of our carbon footprint.

The following six finalists were selected from a total of 1,548 entries and will now enter the prototype creation stage with continued support from Lexus:

  • Algorithmic Lace, Lisa Marks (USA); A 3D-custom lace bra for breast cancer survivors.
  • Arenophile, Rezzan Hasoglu (Turkey / Country of Residence: UK); A project exploring desert sand with different binding materials to create products.
  • Baluto, Jeffrey E. Dela Cruz (Philippines); A modular housing system designed to withstand earthquakes and high floods.
  • Green Blast Jet Energy, Dmitriy Balashov (Russia); A turbine that collects and converts aircraft jet blast to energy during take-off.
  • Hydrus, Shuzhan Yuan (China); An emergency treatment equipment offshore oil spills that increase work efficiency.
  • Solgami, Prevalent (Ben Berwick) (Australia); A window blind that generates electricity and increases internal illumination.

In preparation for prototype creation, a Lexus-sponsored 2-day mentoring workshop was held at the newly-opened Intersect by Lexus in New York City, where finalists received hands-on guidance with four globally acclaimed creators: Jessica Rosenkrantz, Shohei Shigematsu, Sebastian Wrong and Jaime Hayon.

According to technologist and 2019 LDA judge, John Maeda, “This year’s submissions revealed a strong awareness of the connectedness of our world and the need for increased social consciousness.” Speaking more on the transformation happening in the area of design thinking, he said, “It’s clear that the fusion of classical design and computational design is now happening especially in the minds of designers looking to solve our world’s biggest problems. I'm optimistic that as we continue to nurture and embrace this new generation of designers we'll see a better tomorrow.”

2019 L.DA Mentor Jaime Hayon said: “The finalist’s ideas are very interesting, and some are truly breaking boundaries. Through the mentoring workshop, I myself was also inspired by interacting with a different generation who looks at technology for the 21st century from a fresh angle. Further the varied backgrounds of the mentors made the whole project richer.”

Finalists will have ongoing access to each mentor as they develop their prototypes during the months leading up to Milan Design Week in April. Their prototypes will then be displayed at the Lexus event space at the 2019 Milan Design Week. Four world-renowned design leaders will select the Lexus Design Award 2019 Grand Prix winner on April 8.

Further details on the Lexus presence at the 2019 Milan Design Week will be announced in mid-February.

First launched in 2013, in cooperation with designboom, the Lexus Design Award is an international design competition that targets up-and-coming creators from around the world. The award seeks to foster the growth of ideas that contribute to society by supporting designers and creators whose works can help to shape a better future. It provides a unique opportunity for six finalists to work with globally recognized designer as a mentor to create prototypes of their designs, and then exhibit them at one of the design calendar's most important events.


Algorithmic Lace

This bra, made for post-mastectomy women, is custom crafted using a new methodology using algorithmic patterning to make three-dimensional lace. This avoids aspects of the bra that create discomfort after surgery, and give each woman a confidence in her new beginning.

Lisa Marks, USA

Lisa Marks is an Industrial Designer specializing in combining craft research with algorithmic design in order to promote sustainable methods to help craft communities. Lisa has an MFA from Parsons School of Design and is currently faculty at Georgia Institute of Technology.


This project seeks a new purpose for desert sand, a naturally abundant material which has not been widely used. By creating composite materials using desert sand and non-toxic binders, this project proposes new products through experimentation and research.

Rezzan Hasoglu, Turkey / Country of Residence: UK

Rezzan Hasoglu is a product designer based in London. She graduated from Royal College of Art. Her design approach is very hands-on whilst combining digital tools. Focused on research and experimentation inspired from natural phenomena, she seeks ways of translating cultural nuances into tangible objects through exploring processes and materials.


The Baluto project seeks a solution in low-lying areas where the main concern is flood mitigation. This housing strategy provides a habitable space on land that can withstand a sudden rise in flood water level.

Jeffrey E. Dela Cruz, Philippines

Jeffrey Dela Cruz is an Architecture Graduate from Saint Louis University, Baguio City, Philippines. He interprets Filipino architectural designs and is often inspired by indigenous forms, materials and constructions. He hopes his work will eventually have an impact in the research field.

Green Blast Jet Energy

Green Blast Jet Energy makes it possible to collect the energy of the jet blast of an aircraft taking off and to return it for different needs of airports.

Dmitriy Balashov, Russia

Dmitriy Balashov specializes in Industrial Design. He studied at the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. He is inspired by unique and innovative ideas that offer comfort and rationality.


Hydrus is an emergency treatment equipment for offshore oil spills. This equipment does not only try to solve one problem, but also encourages people to deal with the changes in our earth's environment.

Shuzhan Yuan, China

Shuzhan Yuan is a product designer and graduated from Xiamen University of Technology. He tries to encourage deep thinking about meaningful things in our life through design. He compares design with the study and interpretation of this unknown world.


Solgami utilizes origami geometry to give apartment residents a closer connection to their external environment. Formed as a window blind, this geometry provides privacy, and puts the user in charge of deciding between greater internal illumination, or electricity generation.

Prevalent (Ben Berwick), Australia

Ben Berwick runs Prevalent, an architectural startup focusing on social spaces and spatial technology. He specializes in advanced design, and received a Master’s degree in engineering whilst a Fellow at the University of Tokyo. He has a background in Architecture from the University of Sydney, where he now teaches.


Jaime Hayon, Artist – Designer, Hayon Studio

Spanish artist-designer Jaime Hayon was born in Madrid in 1974. His artistic vision was first fully exposed in the ‘Mediterranean Digital Baroque’ and ‘Mon Cirque’ installations. These collections put Jaime at the forefront a new wave that blurred the lines between art, decoration and design and a renaissance in finely-crafted, intricate objects within the context of contemporary design culture.

Jaime further defined his vision in subsequent solo exhibitions and shows at major galleries, and design and art fairs all over the globe. After founding Hayon Studio in 2001, his wide client base has spanned diverse functions and mediums, including domestic furniture for b.d. barcelona, Cassina, Fritz Hansen, &Tradition, and Magis; lighting fixtures for Parachilna, Metalarte and Swarovski; and sophisticated objects for Bisazza, Lladró and Baccarat. He has also executed complete interiors for leading hotels, restaurants, museums, and retail establishments worldwide.

Jessica Rosenkrantz, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Nervous System

Jessica Rosenkrantz is an artist, designer, and programmer. In 2007 she co-founded Nervous System, where she currently works as Creative Director. Her work explores how simulations of natural processes can be used in design and coupled with digital fabrication to create one-of-a-kind, customized products. She studied biology and architecture at MIT and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Since 2016, she has been teaching design at MIT.

Her designs have been featured in a wide range of publications, including WIRED, the New York Times, and the Guardian and are part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper–Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Shohei Shigematsu, Partner and Director of OMA New York

Shohei Shigematsu is a Partner at OMA and the Director of the New York office. Sho has completed a number of cultural projects including Milstein Hall for Cornell University, extension for the Quebec National Art Museum, Faena Forum in Miami Beach and the Costume Institute exhibition at the Met. He is currently engaged in a diverse range of projects across typologies: from cultural projects such as the extension to the Albright Knox Art Gallery, a museum expansion for the New Museum in New York City and the Dior retrospective at Denver Art Museum; to two office towers in Japan and three residential towers across North America—in New York, San Francisco and Miami.

Sebastian Wrong, Design Director, Established & Sons

Design Director of Established & Sons and an award-winning product designer, London-born Sebastian Wrong has more than 18 years of experience in manufacturing. Sebastian originally studied sculpture at Norwich School of Art, before founding his first production company in 2001. Spanning both the creative and production side of the design business, he has accumulated an impressive array of technical skills. Sebastian has taught on the postgraduate diploma platforms at the Royal College of Art, London, and ECAL, Switzerland. As a designer, he has created commercially and critically successful products for some of the world’s leading brands, and his portfolio of work spans furniture, lighting, accessories and gallery projects. As a manufacturer, he has collaborated with many of the preeminent names in contemporary design.


Sir David Adjaye, Architect / Principal and Founder of Adjaye Associates, London and New York

Sir David Adjaye OBE is the principal and founder of Adjaye Associates. Born in Tanzania to Ghanaian parents, his broadly ranging influences, ingenious use of materials and sculptural ability have established him as an architect with an artist’s sensibility and vision. His largest project to date, the Smithsonian Institute National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened on the National Mall in Washington DC in fall of 2016 and was named Cultural Event of the Year by the New York Times. In 2017, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people of the year by TIME magazine.

Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator for the Department of Architecture and Design at MoMA, New York

Paola Antonelli is Senior Curator of Architecture & Design at The Museum of Modern Art, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. Her goal is to promote design’s understanding, until its positive influence on the world is universally acknowledged. Her work investigates design’s impact on everyday experience, often including overlooked objects and practices, and combining design, architecture, art, science and technology. She has curated numerous shows, written several books, and lectured worldwide. She has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Harvard Graduate School of Design; and the MFA programs of the School of Visual Arts in New York. She is currently working on the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature, devoted to examples of design and architecture that aim at repairing humans’ relationship with nature; on the reinstallation of the contemporary design galleries in the new, expanded MoMA; and on a video and VR series entitled __&Design.

John Maeda, Technologist / Global Head of Computational Design + Inclusion, Automattic

John Maeda is an American executive spearheading a new convergence across the design + technology industries. He joined Automattic in 2016 as Global Head of Computational Design +Inclusion and previously served as Design Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), a world-leading venture capital firm. An internationally recognized speaker and author, his books include The Laws of Simplicity, Creative Code and Redesigning Leadership. He holds degrees in Electrical Engineering + Computer Science from MIT, an MBA from Arizona State U, and a PhD from University of Tsukuba in Japan. He was also a member of the Technical Advisory Board for Google’s Advanced Technology + Projects Group and the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on New Growth Models. He previously served as advisor to John Donahoe, CEO of eBay Inc. Prior to his work in industry, Maeda was a tenured research professor at the MIT Media Laboratory and 16th President of the Rhode Island School of Design.

Yoshihiro Sawa, President Of Lexus International

Yoshihiro Sawa has been innovating automobile design and engineering for over thirty years. A visionary anchored in the practical, he is acknowledged as a global leader in his field. Sawa has been involved in building better, more beautiful vehicles for decades, applying his unique perspective to the harmony of form and function. This has seen him lead various aspects of the business from engineering to design to product development, giving him a particularly holistic view of the art of building automobiles. Sawa applies this to his role at Lexus, guiding the brand in delivering on its promise of amazing experiences through inspired design, relentless innovation, and uninhibited performance.