In its eighth edition, the Lexus Design Award invites creatives worldwide to push design innovation all while providing new possibilities for emerging creative professionals. Aiming to "foster the growth of ideas that contribute to society by supporting designers and creators whose works can help shape a better future," the competition provides finalists the ability to prototype and exhibit their projects.
For this year's award winners, Kenyan design team BellTower takes the prize with their project Open Source Communities. With over 2,000 entries spanning across 79 countries, the winning project was chosen for its ability to address design challenges found in developing countries. According to the competition jury, the winning design uses "smart open-source planning to design affordable communities with sustainable clean water resources."
Having access to clean water is an ongoing issue across several African villages. With old and outdated water systems, communities succumb to sickness and poor health. The team from BellTower aimed to tackle the problems of providing clean water to help not only their country but provide open access design resources to help others suffering from the same issues. Gathering water is a daily task for families and their children. Through BellTower's Open Source Communities unit, these structures can provide a way for each community to flourish in an ongoing, sustainable effort.
Lexus Design Award judge Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang shares, "The Grand Prix winner expands our definition of design to include systems of finance for community projects and engages the critical role clean drinking water plays in citizens’ ability to thrive. By addressing the way that the project will come into being and be sustained economically, the designers broaden our thinking about what design is and could be. While the project is an apparatus to collect and store rainwater for safe drinking, it is also a financial game plan for empowering a community.”
Each unit is constructed of recycled plastic composites and bamboo. The 46-square foot units are designed to house water collection tanks and provide a space for water resource training. Another unique design feature is its versatile roof panel system. Thanks to its structural versatility, each unit can collect rainwater and stay cool with ample ventilation. The focus of BellTower's project is to provide design resources and opportunities to create affordable communities across the nation.
Finalists are paired with mentors and awarded a cash prize of to help prototype and exhibit their design.
To learn more about the design award click here.
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