7th episode of our weekly talk with Archiproducts Design Awards jury members

10/09/2020 – For this week’s episode we questioned Claudia Pasquero and Marco Poletto, co-founders of ecoLogicStudioWill Meyer and Gray Davis of New York based studio Meyer Davis, and Ed Ng, co-founder of AB Concept from Hong Kong. Application period for the  Archiproducts Design Awards. is drawing to a close. To take the opportunity of being among this year’s winners, brands and manufacturers have to submit products within September 21th.

In anticipation of this the jury’s decision, Archiproducts has been asking jury members – architects, designers, creative directors, editors and photographers – about their personal point of view of project culture, their expectations of this year’s nominees and current topics in the world of design.

 

ecoLogicStudio “We will look for products […] hat have the ability to go ‘viral’ and create larger networks.”

In London’s East End, Marco Poletto and Claudia Pasquero – co-founders of ecoLogicStudio – are experimenting with possible relations between the natural world, new technologies and innovative materials. Founded in 2005, the studio is dedicated to research on bio-digital design, with the aim to define ‘a new ecology of space and human behavior’. This broad approach to design – from micro to macro – is at the base of their experimental practice, their projects and installations that are designed to become real interactive laboratories.

What are you looking forward to finding in our entries and which features are you going to reward?
As a designer today, you need to think about the implications of the products you design at different scales and within different domains. More and more designers should look at the ability of products and devices not only to find a niche in the market, or to fulfill some immediate need, but also to act as global disrupters; to become agents of change and transformation in relationship to bigger processes that are potentially global in scale.
For instance, we could focus on food supply chains, pollution emissions or waste up-cycling. We should ask ourselves: how can our design disrupt patterns of production and consumption by affecting users’ behavior? This could stimulate and encourage new production processes within the urban environment.

We will look for products that consider the systemic perspective, projects that may be quite small and simple but that have the ability to go ‘viral’ and create larger networks. We will look for designs with a potential impact that is several times bigger than the combined impacts of the individual products because of their ability to foster collaboration and communication.


 Which role do you think a Design Award should have nowadays?
The current global health crisis had an immediate impact on many businesses, especially within the arts and creative design world. However, we must be positive in our outlook towards future possibilities. The one good thing that can emerge out of this crisis is that it is going to force more
innovative and radical practices to emerge and to develop. A design award has the power to spot these trends and bring them to everyone’s attention.

The current transition will create opportunities especially for younger practices, for innovation-based practices, for research-based practices to offer their contribution. And in that sense, it’s an opportunity. Our answer to this crisis has been to push more innovation into the practice and effectively show how designers can be relevant to the industry in these trying times. Awards at best are an important instrument to facilitate connections between emerging talents and the industry which is now more than ever in need of innovative ideas to evolve its operations and business models.

In which direction should contemporary product Design go and how should it evolve to answer people’s needs?
Contemporary design is plural, collective and modifiable. Our current stage of technological evolution, notably in the form of synthetic biology and artificial intelligence, is opening scenarios where traditional dichotomies such as natural and artificial, material and digital, human and non-human become obsolete. Therefore we would like to see a turn towards the study of human / non-human co-existence. This should include other living organisms but also intelligent digital and robotic systems that now inhabit an urban environment.

There is a growing sense, both in the design community and at governmental level, that technology alone is not the answer to all problems. There is a growing understanding that technology is an important tool, but that it needs to be articulated and embedded into the world we inhabit through the lenses of design at different scales and regimes.
There will be a growing recognition that the creative design industry has a role to play, not only as a producer of creative content, but mostly as an instrument for the effective evolution and adoption of new technology. That is a good sign for the design world as it will most certainly expand its scope and create novel business opportunities for designers.

These opportunities will be centered around the evolution of the ‘consumer’ into a more active agent of creative transformation, perhaps to the point of him or her becoming a co-designer, together with the multiplicity of no-human organisms and digital machines that currently shape the evolution of urban environment.

 

Ed Ng, AB Concept: “I think a Design Award nowadays should celebrate and encourage diversity.”

As co-founder of internationally renowned AB Concept design studio, Ed Ng and his partner Terence Ngan are responsible for numerous luxury projects, from hospitality – including the Four Seasons, Rosewood, Mandarin Oriental and Ritz Carlton – to residential and commercial projects. Born and raised in Hong Kong, with both Asian and Western influences, Ed’s formative years shaped his principles and aesthetic, allowing him to understand diverse cultures and blend them together in his personal design approach.

What are you looking forward to finding in our entries and which features are you going to reward?
I am looking for creativity that brings with it joy and comfort.  

Which role do you think a Design Award should have nowadays?
I think it is extremely important to celebrate and encourage diversity.

In which direction should contemporary product Design go and how should it evolve to answer people’s needs?
In this post-pandemic world, we’re seeing a shift in cultural and societal behaviors and are already working and living so differently. Our designs should respond to this ‘new normal’ to stay relevant and address consumers’ needs.

 

Meyer Davis: “We are looking for something we haven’t seen before… a unique detail, combination of materials, or sensibility.” 


Will Meyer and Gray Davis founded Meyer Davis in 1999, after years of collaboration. Today, more than 20 years after its inception, Meyer Davis has head offices in the heart of Soho in New York City and Downtown Los Angeles, as well as branch offices in Miami, London and throughout the United States. The studio has also won a number prestigious awards, including the James Beard Award for the St. Cecilia restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia and numerous Interior Design Best of Year Awards (for products and interior design).

What are you looking forward to finding in our entries and which features are you going to reward?
First and foremost, we are looking for something we haven’t seen before – a unique detailcombination of materials, or sensibility – the product has to force us to pause and take a closer look. Second to that – but on equal footing – we want to reward products that elevate the role of designer and solve problems. Being beautiful is not enough – it’s got to be great quality, easy to use, and appropriate for the end user it is being marketed towards.
 

Which role do you think a Design Award should have nowadays?
Awards are important in that they give designers the opportunity to be recognized by their industry at large. Receiving an award can help raise the profile of an up and coming designer, offer them a new platform, and hopefully motivate them to keep turning the dial on design. Awards have the ability to highlight when a designer is doing something right, and foster innovation in our industry.

In which direction should contemporary product Design go and how should it evolve to answer people’s needs? 
The scope through which we view product design needs to be expanded, to showcase a wider range of perspectives. […] We want more voices in the mix, and awards are a great way to find new talents and give them a wider platform and more opportunity. We’re excited to see who is out there this year and hopefully play a small role in diversifying the design industry.

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