The luxury brand continues its support of next-generation creators via the new digital platform

Today, Lexus announced that the Lexus Design Award 2020 Grand Prix selection will be adapted to a virtual environment in August with the Grand Prix winner to be announced on September 1. “We were presented with a unique set of circumstances this year,” said Brian Bolain, Lexus International, General Manager of Global Marketing & PR, “but Lexus remains focused on the Award's original mission of supporting tomorrow's creators with a new launchpad for their careers.”

Out of 2,042 entries from 79 countries, a record for Lexus Design Award, only one Grand Prix winner will be selected. The Virtual Grand-Prix Selection will link the six finalists and the esteemed judging panel of Paola Antonelli, Jeanne Gang, John Maeda, and Simon Humphries. The judges' decision on the Grand Prix winner will be based on three key principles of the Lexus brand: Anticipate, Innovate, and Captivate, with an emphasis on design that leads to a better tomorrow.

“Great designers thrive in difficult situations, and help individuals and society deal with unexpected change,” said Paola Antonelli. “This year's finalists have already passed the first important test by continuing their good work despite complex circumstances. We will miss meeting them in person, but we look forward to their experiments and to the new wisdom that they will bring to the virtual Grand Prix Selection.”.

In January, the six finalists participated in a momentous workshop experience in New York City. The workshop put the finalists face-to-face with four acclaimed mentors: Joe Doucet, Bethan Gray, Philippe Malouin and Shohei Shigematsu, each of whom shared their own distinctive wisdom and expertise. INTERSECT BY LEXUS-NYC, the brand’s unique lifestyle space, served as the workshop venue. In the ensuing months, the finalists have benefited from their mentors’ ongoing guidance and support via one-on-one online mentoring sessions, which continue to stimulate their creative evolution in preparing their works for the final judging process. The four Mentors will also join the virtual Grand Prix selection.


  • Biocraft by Sutherlin Santo (USA)
  • Feltscape, by Théophile Peju & Salvatore Cicero (France, Italy / Based in United Kingdom)
  • Flash Pak, by Yaokun Wu (China / Based in USA)
  • L.I.C.K., by Irina Samoilova (Russia)
  • Open Source Communities, by BellTower (Kenya)
  • Pursewit, by Aqsa Ajmal (Pakistan)

A Grand Prix trophy, designed by Hideki Yoshimoto, will be unveiled when this year’s Grand Prix winner is announced in September. Yoshimoto was a winner of the first Lexus Design Award in 2013 and has become a successful designer based in London working with a number of global brands. The trophy design will incorporate his engineering background and commitment to Japanese takumi-craftsmanship and will continue to be used for all future Lexus Design Award events.

Call for Entries for Lexus Design Award 2021 begins today and will close on October 11th. The Judges and Mentors will be announced this fall.

For more information, please visit LexusDesignAward.com

Official Hashtag: #LexusDesignAward


Biocraft materials combine natural biopolymers with emerging technology to produce materials with advanced capabilities that better our health and the environment. They are intended to replace the inert products in our daily lives with ones that actively engage with their surroundings by removing C02 from the air and disseminating nutrients.

Sutherlin Santo (USA)

Paul and Garrett Sutherlin Santo are designers from Downtown Los Angeles. Their work seeks to project a future where design’s connection to nature and technology are symmetrical by exploring the relationship of emerging digital processes, ecologically engaged materials, and traditional techniques.


Feltscape is a breathing cloud that fosters the philosophical idea of isolation. It is made of felt and recycled bio-plastic with an innovative robotic fabrication process. By the implementation of sensors and kinetic mechanisms, the cloud will follow the visitor's breath. The membrane rhythm gradually accelerates or decelerates guiding the occupant to inhale/exhale slower.

Théophile Peju (France) & Salvatore Cicero (Italy)

Théophile Peju & Salvatore Cicero are architectural designers based in London. They graduated from the Bartlett School of Architecture – UCL, where they pursued research on textile composite materials. Their design approach, through hands-on experience, combines traditional craftsmanship and innovative robotic fabrication techniques.

Flash Pak

Flash Pak, installed on the lamp posts, makes life jackets easily accessible and provides protection to people in high-risk flooding areas. By utilizing the natural buoyancy of the life jacket, it allows the life vest to rise up to the water’s surface for easy access regardless of how high the water is.

Yaokun Wu, China / Based in USA

Yaokun Wu is an industrial design student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. He feels grateful for everything he has and wishes to use design to help people who need it most. He believes design is everywhere, but only that which brings people warmth will never be forgotten.


L.I.C.K. is a portable body cleaner that will help people who are unable to use a bath. The device has a soft cleaning surface like a cat’s tongue similar to how cats clean their body from impurities. This cleaning surface has papillae with a U-shaped cavity and different hardness like cats' tongue.

Irina Samoilova, Russia

Irina Samoilova is a product & furniture designer. She is currently studying for a master's degree at Moscow State Stroganov Academy of Design and Applied Art in the furniture design department. Before starting a new design, she first studies animal shapes and how such forms already work in nature.

Open Source Communities

Open Source Communities is a proposal outlining an efficient way of designing communities in developing countries based on using smart open-source plans. The designer’s endeavor is to see how these designs may be refined to create a water resource center that is sustainable.

BellTower (John Brian Kamau, Joyce Wairimu Gachiri, Ian Githegi Kamau, Esther Wanjiku Kamau and Arvin Booker Kamau), Kenya

BellTower was established in 2014 with the vision of using open source systems and technologies to solve problems. They came together to create a team with skills in Risk Management, Information Technology, Design, Project Management and Strategy to build an open-source community model for personal, corporate and industrial needs.


The Pursewit has a sleek new design that just invites you to sew!

By simplifying sewing machine use for the visually impaired, the operation is made more intuitive and tactile, aiding in the cumbersome process of sewing.

Aqsa Ajmal, Pakistan

Aqsa Ajmal, Industrial Designer, graduated from National University of Sciences and Technology. She is steered by her belief in design as a problem-solving tool, devising relationships between ideas and reality. Through her tangible interaction and firsthand experiments in design, she looks forward to improving connections between people and products.



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 shows, written books, lectured worldwide, and taught in several schools, including Harvard and UCLA. Following the XXII Triennale di Milano––her 2019 Broken Nature, devoted to the idea of restorative design––she is working on Material Ecology, a show on the work of architect Neri Oxman that will open at MoMA in February 2020; on several new sessions of her MoMA R&D Salons; and on two books–– a collection of essays on contemporary design and Design Bites, a book about foods from all over the world as examples of design.



Jeanne Gang, FAIA, is the founding principal and partner of internationally renowned architecture and urban design practice Studio Gang. Recognized for an approach that expands beyond architecture’s conventional boundaries to foreground relationships between individuals, communities, and their environment. Jeanne has a diverse, award-winning portfolio of work throughout the Americas and Europe. These include Aqua Tower in Chicago, an expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the new United States Embassy in Brasilia. A MacArthur Fellow and Professor in Practice of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Jeanne this year was named one of the most influential people in the world by TIME Magazine and won her largest commission to date: the 2.2 million sf O’Hare Global Terminal.



John Maeda is an American technologist, designer, engineer, artist, investor, author, and teacher. He was recently appointed chief experience officer at Publicis Sapient, the technology consulting and delivery arm of communications and marketing conglomerate Publicis. He has held positions with Automattic, the parent company of WordPress.com; the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins; led research at the MIT Media Lab; and served as president of the Rhode Island School of Design. Named as one of the “75 Most Influential People of the 21st Century” by Esquire, Maeda draws on his diverse background as an MIT-trained engineer, award-winning designer, and executive leader to bring people and ideas together at scale. He is the author of several celebrated books, including The Laws of Simplicity and Redesigning Leadership and his upcoming book How to Speak Machine will be available November 2019. He has appeared as a speaker all over the world, from Davos to Beijing to São Paulo to New York, and his talks for TED have received millions of views.



Simon Humphries is Head of Toyota & Lexus Global Design. He was appointed to oversee design for both brands in 2018. As Head of Lexus Global Design Humphries seeks to define Lexus' unique values in the form of a brand philosophy, incorporating a clear cultural reference to Lexus' Japanese heritage and building a design direction that is relevant to users around the world.

Humphries joined the company in 1994. His many roles in leadership and advanced design include defining the signature spindle grille that has become an icon for the Lexus brand. In 2016 he became President of ED2 (Toyota Europe Design Development) where his team spearheaded development of mobility concepts such as the Toyota e-Palette concept as part of the brand’s transition from “automotive company” to “mobility company.” Humphries began his career in design in 1988 when he was awarded the Royal Society of Arts Bursary Prize for Product Design in the UK. The award gave him the opportunity to work for Sony, which jumpstarted his passion for living and working in Japan. In his spare time Humphries enjoys carpentry and is restoring a 100-year old Japanese farmhouse.




A designer, entrepreneur, inventor and creative director, Joe Doucet is one of the most sought-after creative talents working in America today. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design, Doucet quickly began exporting his vision into product, furniture, environment, and technology to find solutions for daily and societal challenges through design. His work deftly hybridizes function and visual appeal while conveying layers of meaning and message. Doucet believes that design and, more importantly, a designer’s thought process can play a larger role in innovation and problem solving, as well as aesthetics. He currently holds numerous patents for his designs and inventions. Doucet’s work has been exhibited globally, including the London Design Museum and the Biennale International Design in Saint-Etienne. He has received numerous international awards, including a World Technology Award for Design Innovation and multiple Good Design Awards. He was also named the only ever AvantGuardian for Design by Surface Magazine. In 2017, Doucet was named the 2017 Winner of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award as Product Designer—the highest honor in his field. As an entrepreneur, Doucet has created and launched a myriad of businesses aimed at making the world a better place though design, including OTHR and Citizen A.



London-based Bethan Gray is one the UK’s most celebrated furniture and homeware designers, having been awarded four Elle Decoration British Design Awards including the coveted Best British Designer. Her work features extensively in global media; and she has exhibited in London, Milan, Paris, New York and Dubai.

Bethan’s ancestors went on an incredible journey across continents - Bethan has since visited many of the places they passed through, inspired by a love of travel, art and culture. Today, her mission is to bring contemporary relevance to the traditional techniques from these regions – keeping both cultural narratives and craft skills alive. She believes in the power to tell stories through craft and design and has formed joint ventures based on mutual trust and respect that support over 400 master crafts people globally.

Established in 2008, Bethan Gray Design creates luxury handcrafted collections of furniture and home accessories that are sold through global retailers such as Harrods, Liberty, Lane Crawford. Within her own practice in London, she nurtures, connects and encourages new design talent and mentors upcoming female designers. She has recently launched a Prize for Women in Craft with Cardiff Metropolitan University where she is an honorary fellow.



British-Canadian Philippe Malouin holds a bachelor’s degree in Design from the Design Academy Eindhoven. He has also studied at the École Nationale Supérieure de Création Industrielle in Paris and the University of Montreal.

He set up his studio in 2008 after working for English designer Tom Dixon. Philippe has also taught at the Royal College of Art in London between 2012-2015. He is also the director of POST-OFFICE, the architectural and interior design practice.

His diverse portfolio includes tables, rugs, chairs, lights, art objects and installations. Philippe’s client list includes SCP, Marsotto Edizioni, Resident, OTHR, Hem, Ace hotel, Matter-Made, Established & Sons, Roll & Hill, 1882 ltd., Kvadrat, Umbra Shift, Caesarstone, IZÉ, Swarovski, Bloomberg, Aesop and Touch Digital.

Philippe is represented by Salon 94 Design gallery in New York City. He has recently won the Wallpaper* Magazine 'designer of the year' award. Philippe lives and works in London, where he operates his design studio.



Shohei Shigematsu joined OMA in 1998, has led the New York office since 2006, and became a partner in 2008. He has recently completed the renovation of Sotheby’s New York headquarters, luxury high-rise towers in San Francisco and Miami, and OMA’s first ground-up building in New York City, a residential complex at 121 East 22nd Street. Sho has successfully completed designs for cultural venues including the Quebec National Beaux Arts Museum and the Faena Arts Center in Miami Beach. Currently in progress are the expansion of Buffalo’s Albright-Knox-Gundlach Art Museum and a second building for the New Museum. Sho has also designed exhibitions for Prada, the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Park Avenue Armory, and Dior’s first US retrospective at the Denver Art Museum and Dallas Museum of Art. He oversees OMA’s projects in Japan, including a new business center in Fukuoka (2021) and OMA’s first mixed-use tower in Tokyo for Mori Building Co, Ltd. (2023).

A design critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Sho has lectured at TED and Wired Japan conference, and at universities throughout the world.



Hideki Yoshimoto is a designer and engineer, working on a wide range of creative and technology projects. He studied aeronautics and astronautics at the University of Tokyo and carried out PhD research at the Royal College of Art, before founded TANGENT, his own lighting brand in 2015 in London. His projects and research have received several international awards in both of design and engineering, such as Lexus Design Award’s Grand Prix, Red Dot Design Concept’s Best of the Best Award, and Best Conference Award from Japanese Society of Artificial Intelligence. He was also appointed as a visiting associate professor at Osaka University of Arts in Japan in 2018.


First launched in 2013, 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 each finalist to work with a 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.