Grace of Waste - the upcycled Furoshiki by Peter Schmidt Group

Securing the Future

The iF Design Award 2021 was recently presented – for the 67th time, to be more precise – thus honoring outstanding ideas in the relevant disciplines. From product design to communications design and from packaging design to service design, it included architecture and interior architecture, even recognizing user interfaces and the user experience. We are presenting four prizewinners to you, designers whose approach to sustainability is particularly impressive.
by Anna Moldenhauer | 7/6/2021

Just shy of 10,000 products and projects were submitted to the competition, to be assessed by the iF Jury’s international, independent design experts, creatives such as Werner Aisslinger, Michele de Lucchi, Gesa Hansen and Ana Relvão. 1,744 awards were presented, with the 75 most outstanding of them also receiving the highest accolade, the iF gold award 2021. One issue addressed by the majority of entries submitted was that of sustainability – be this in terms of materials, workmanship, performance, or technology. "For some 40 years now, Prof. Dieter Rams has been beating the drum for a constant discourse and has been drawing people’s attention to the subjects of mass consumption and oversupply in the markets. We must come up with sustainable solutions, solutions that encompass reuse and recycling. This year’s awards gave me the impression that designers have finally woken up and started addressing the subject. At least, the award has taken a step in the right direction. This is becoming particularly clear with a number of the iF gold awards," reports Sam Hecht who is chairing the iF Design Award 2021.

Nest thermostat from Google, winner of the iF gold award

Take, for example, the third generation of Google’s "Nest Thermostat". Shaped like a little bowl and available in a multitude of colors ranging from black to rose, its design is unobtrusively understated. A raised lip protects its generously proportioned display, behind which sensors are at work. Instead of requiring recourse to preprogrammed heating programs, the "Nest Thermostat" learns its users’ preferred temperature settings, and allows them to develop their own routines based on the latter, thus both cutting the cost of maintaining an ideal heating temperature and promoting energy-efficient heating – which impacts positively on not only your wallet but also the environment. In addition, the thermostat uses fewer parts than its predecessor and is partly made from used PET. Moreover, the Nest app allows you to link in digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa or the Google Assistant. The jury’s statement after presenting the thermostat with the iF gold award 2021 was as follows: "This is an outstanding design! It boasts perfect proportions, fits in well with any environment and its detailing – from its choice of materials to its screen graphics – is immaculate. However, let us not forget its purpose – it is very affordable and it helps people to save energy."

"Vitocal" from Vissmann, winner of the iF gold award

Remaining in the field of heating, Viessmann’s wall-mounted compact devices in the "Vitocal 25x-A" and the "Vitocal 2xx-S" ranges were also the recipients of an iF gold award. Powered by electricity from renewable sources, these appliances produce zero-carbon energy – for heating, chilling or DHW. "'Vitocal' is a heat pump that satisfies one of today’s most urgent requirements – to heat our houses in times of ecological crisis. This appliance is powered by renewable electricity and can minimize the carbon footprint of a construct environment. Impressive, clear lines are teamed up with high functionality. A totally winning design!" commented the jury. Quiet when in operation and compact in format, Viessmann’s heat pumps are, moreover, also ideal for projects in densely populated areas.

Fiberglass washbasin from MOAB80 houselab S.r.l.

Another winner of the iF DESIGN AWARD 2021 is "LVR" by MOAB80, a collection of washstands made of fiberglass with a Gelcoat finish. Using minimalist lines and with her "LVR", Gabriella Ciaschi has come up with bathroom products distinguished not only by their elegant appearance, but also by their optimum material properties. Anti-scratch and resistant to mold and bacteria, this collection of sanitaryware has the wherewithal to become a lifelong companion without losing any of its charms.

EcoTEX(TM) carpet backing from Fletco Carpets

For its part, and with its "EcoTEX", a felt carpet back made using 85% recycled PET materials, Fletco Carpets even lays its product at the feet of sustainability. The manufacture of "EcoTEX" entirely forgoes harmful substance, it is attached to the back of the carpet or the carpet tile with a latex-free adhesive. This means that with "EcoTEX" Fletco Carpets is not only environmentally-friendly, it also protects the health of the people who handle and use the product. Soft and flexible, it is also extremely pleasant to walk on, as well as optimizing the acoustics in a room.

Nowadays, a large number of the prizewinners have developed a great feeling for sustainable design and offer the kind of solutions that are both creative and trendsetting. All the products that have received the iF Design Award 2021 plus extensive background information can be viewed using the new iF Design app – as can the winners of the iF Design Talent Award 2021 for up-and-coming next-generation designers.