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TOKYO, Japan (January 28, 2021) - Lexus today announced the six finalists for the Lexus Design Award 2021, selected by a distinguished jury from among 2,079 entries submitted by creators in 66 countries. Four leading design experts will directly mentor the finalists, giving them a once-in-a lifetime experience as they prototype their ideas with a per-project budget capped at 3,000,000 yen (approx.$25,000 USD).

This year marks the ninth edition of the Lexus Design Award, which was established to support up-and-coming creators. The program recognizes fresh design talent and showcases their innovations on a prominent and respected international platform. In selecting this year’s six finalists, judges looked for innovative ideas that embodied the three key principles of the Lexus brand – Anticipate, Innovate, and Captivate – with an emphasis on design that leads to a better tomorrow.

Lexus Design Award 2021 Finalists

  • CY-BO by Kenji Abe (Japan)

Sustainable, reusable packaging material that can be assembled like cells.

  • Heartfelt by Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea (New Zealand & Tonga, based in New Zealand)

A device that enables virtual hugs.

  • InTempo by Alina Holovatiuk (Ukraine)

Mitts that may help distract from stressful situations by novel usage of rhythm and music.

  • KnitX by Irmandy Wicaksono (Indonesia, based in USA)

Digital 3D knitting of functional, electronic textiles for multi-modal visual, auditory, and tactile material interaction.

  • Solar Desalination Skylight by Henry Glogau (Dual New Zealand & Austria, based in Denmark)

Device that uses seawater to create natural diffused light, drinking water, and leftover salt for energy creation.

  • Terracotta Valley Wind by Intsui Design (China, based in Japan)

A terracotta evaporative cooling system for subway stations utilizing train-induced wind to function.


Lexus Design Award 2021 panel of judges and mentors was announced last September 2020: Leading figures in global design complete the judging and mentoring line-up for the Lexus Design Award 2021.

Judge Greg Lynn said, “In the middle of a changing climate and a global pandemic there was a predictable urgency to the problems being addressed by the designers. Across all the proposals we saw, there was also a humanity and intimate scale.”

In mid-January the six finalists participated in a five-day workshop with the four Lexus Design Award 2021 mentors: Joe Doucet, Sabine Marcelis, Mariam Kamara, and Sputniko!.Following the workshop, mentor Mariam Kamara said, "The mentoring sessions have been quite stimulating. I was struck by the level of optimism and commitment the finalists have shown in their designs. In this new COVID-19 reshaped world, their visions and sensitivity are a gift to us all.

Each one of them was incredibly passionate about the projects and demonstrated a strong motivation to delve deeper and do the necessary research to strengthen the final result.

Though the mentoring was remote, a combination of powerful online tools and well-prepared finalists made for a fluid, productive, and enjoyable process. I look forward to seeing where they take their designs in the coming months." The mentors’ passion for nurturing young talent combined with a richly challenging curriculum resulted in highly instructive and productive sessions that fully engaged the finalists and mentors.

Finalists will continue to work with the mentors as they develop their prototypes toward the Grand Prix selection. Judging panel of renowned design leaders: Paola Antonelli, Dong Gong, Greg Lynn and Simon Humphries will select Grand Prix Winner based on their final prototypes and presentations in April 2021.

For more information, please visit LexusDesignAward.com

Official Hashtag: #LexusDesignAward



CY-BO is a new form of cytologically-inspired packaging material that can transform into various shapes by combining the pieces together. Infinitely reusable and rearrangeable, it can be converted into all manner of products for different applications depending on the ideas of the user.

By Kenji Abe (Japan)

Kenji Abe is a graduate of the Tama Art University Product Design Department, who now works as a product designer based in Tokyo. While designing imaging products professionally, he also pursues personal design activities. He is curious about creating a better tomorrow for humans, nature, animals and theearth, and wishes to propose beautiful solutions to the problems we face.



Heartfelt aims to explore what ‘being present’ might look like during the age of a pandemic, and seeks to assist with the anxiety and emotional stresses of being alone through simple long distance devices. "Small device, big heart."

By Gayle Lee (New Zealand) and Jessica Vea (Tonga, based in New Zealand)

Gayle Lee and Jessica Vea are recent Bachelor of Creative Technologies graduates from Auckland University of Technology. They are passionate about creating meaningful products that help others and promoting interdisciplinary collaboration between different fields and practices. They are hoping to start their Master of Creative Technologies degrees in 2021.



InTempoare mitts to aid people facing emotional stress (e.g. Sociophobia ) inpublic spaces / during public actions. Touching certain spots on the mitts to the rhythm of music may help a person to calm themselves down.

By Alina Holovatiuk (Ukraine)

Alina Holovatiuk is a young architect from Kyiv, Ukraine. She is currently continuing her studies and research at Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture in the Information Technologies in Architecture Department. Her approach to design is based on special attention to human emotions and their perception of the world.



KnitX is a set of functional textiles computationally-integrated with digital knitting. The use of active and electronic fibers in the design enables garment and interior fabrics that dynamically respond to gesture and sunlight, change their appearance, and provide thermoregulation.

By Irmandy Wicaksono (Indonesia, based in US)

Irmandy Wicaksono is an electrical and textile engineer and designer. He is currently a Ph.D. student in the Responsive Environments, MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on developing soft and textile based electronics for various applications ranging from health and well being, human-computer interaction to interactive media and environments.


Solar Desalination Skylight

A holistic approach to providing coastal informal settlements with water, energy and natural light. The design utilizes abundant solar energy and seawater to create a Solar Desalination Skylight. It emits a natural diffused light, produces drinking water, and utilizes leftover salt brine for energy creation.

By Henry Glogau (Dual New Zealand and Austria, based in Denmark)

Henry Glogau is a New Zealander who recently graduated from the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, Denmark. His master’s degree specialized in Architecture and Extreme Environments, where he explored present and future global challenges in expeditions to diverse locations. Henry is now working as an Architect at GXN, the green innovation unit of 3XN.


Terracotta Valley Wind

A terracotta evaporative cooling system that cools subway stations during summer and reduces energy consumption. Terracotta is an inexpensive and accessible clay material. Its nature allows water to quickly evaporate, while utilizing the unused wind resource in subway stations, maximizing the value of train-induced wind.

By Intsui Design (China, based in Japan) Yilei Lyu, Chenkai Guo, Baohua Sheng, Yu Zhang

Intsui Design is a design group based in Tokyo. They are currently pursuing Master's degrees at Tama Art University in the Integrated Design department. They explore the relationship between subconscious human behaviors and design. Their design practice focuses on people’s intuition and natural responses to objects and the environment.


Launched in 2013, the Lexus Design Award is an international competition for up-and-coming creators from around the world. The Award seeks to contribute to society by supporting designers and creators whose work shows potential to shape a better future. Six finalists gain a rare opportunity to prototype their designs under the mentorship of leading designers. The Lexus Design Award provides global media exposure to drive professional career advancement