According to a research study by EU Science Hub, 80 per cent of the ecological impact of a product is locked in at the design phase. For product designers, this underscores the responsibility to lower the environmental impact of consumer goods — from embodied carbon and life-cycle to daily efficiency — while maintaining impeccable design standards.
Fortunately, the industry is already evolving to meet the challenge. Since 1954, the iF Design Award has been globally recognized as a trademark of excellence in design. From product, packaging, communication and service design to architecture, interior architecture and professional concept, UI and UX, the award honours the best in design worldwide, selecting winners that best represent the “CreatiFe Power of Design.” In 2021, they welcomed nearly 10,000 submissions from over 50 countries — among them, a variety of flagship products focused on sustainable design and energy saving. Below, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite award-winning products showcasing the inextricability of forward-thinking design and sustainability.
Designing a thermally insulated roof that is both easy to install and easy on the eyes is no simple feat. Solarlux’s SDL Avalis follows the latest architectural trends in roof design, while including maximum levels of thermal insulation, as well as reliable ventilation. The aluminum-clad system can be customized in a range of muted tones, while a concealed drainage mechanism maintains the structure’s minimal look. Above, a cut-out skylight lets in natural light for an immersive indoor/outdoor experience.
Stain resistant, chemical resistant, and impact resistant — these characteristics make the Varicor washbasin a prime choice for high-use spaces. Varicor’s custom non-porous material is also imbued with anti-bacterial properties. The washbasin series is sustainably manufactured in Alsace and suitable for commercial and residential applications. Available in 35 shapes, Varicor’s one-piece cast form is customizable and easily repairable, ensuring its pristine appearance for years to come. And with a minimalist slotted drain that practically disappears into its basin, it’s as artful as it is hygienic.
Temporary showrooms may be a necessary feature of the design world, but their environmental impact doesn’t have to be. With this consideration in mind, China’s Rooi Design and Research created a fully reusable and de-constructible showroom — Pavilion S, which premiered at the Shanghai International Furniture Fair. The main structure of the pavilion is composed of modular plywood stacks which double as display alcoves, allowing visitors to view the items from various angles. Once the temporary installation had served its purpose, Rooi Design transformed the plywood body into 410 sets of tables and chairs — and donated the resulting furniture collection to a rural community in Fuqing, China.
The Hight-Touch faucet is designed to consistently dispense the exact amount of water required — no matter what size vessel is being filled. Manufactured by Runner Group, the faucet’s integrated touch screen allows for water level to be specified by the user — from there, a built-in radar attached to the faucet’s neck senses the appropriate water level and turns the tap off automatically, reducing any water waste. With its matte black finish, the innovate design fits seamlessly into any environment — and it’s perfect for multi-tasking.
Architectural awareness and ecological awareness come together in this new design by Pod Space Ltd. The Eco Pod was designed to enhance its natural surroundings, instead of distracting from them — the pod combines natural materials with bold, contrasting composites to meld with its chosen scenery. Built from sustainably sourced Siberian larch, the modular building is pre-fabricated offsite for minimal ecological disturbance. Compact and refined, the pod can also be integrated seamlessly into a backyard or garden.
Bassinets are essential for newborn babies, but most available options on the market are made of plastic and have a limited life span. Inspired by the Finnish Baby Box (a cardboard box filled with clothing that doubles as a bed, provided to expectant mothers by the Finnish government) the Juno Bassinet, designed by Formfuture, is an inventive twist on the classic baby bassinet: a lightweight, moveable box made of entirely recyclable materials. Juno is portable and easy to assemble; available in three graphic patterns, it’s an adorable addition to any nursery.
Named for the playful size of its perforations, the Ping & Pong ceramic ventilation blocks (breeze blocks) by Mukura Ceramics take cues from vernacular architecture, with a modern twist. Their smooth granite surface is easy to keep clean from dust and pollutants, while their sparkling white colour reflects sunlight into any space. The best part: Ping & Pong provide natural cross ventilation, reducing the need for energy consumption — namely, costly air conditioning — by keeping any interior cool year-round. On overcast days, they still come in handy by doubling as rain-screens.
Ingenious. Inviting. Intuitive. The IN family of stools by Gastón Gil and Zulema Josa for Hoioh Design takes cues from each qualifier. Made of an even number of elements of the same shape and size, the slight misplacement of its composing parts allows the other twin stool to join, forming a single item. Built with sustainably-sourced plywood and produced using a deft combination of CNC technology and hand-finishing, the IN stools come in a flat pack for ease of shipping and reduced environmental impact. It’s two stools in one — and two distinct styles, as well.
To view all these designs and many more, visit the website of the iF Design Award.
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This content was published by Azure on behalf of iF Design.
Selected as winners of the iF Design Award 2021, these design-forward products are centring sustainability.