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Student designer using the natural properties of wool to purify the air

The Lexus Design Award is now in its 10th year, a global call for young creative talent around the world to “Design for a Better Tomorrow”.

Since 2013, this international design competition has provided the chance of a lifetime for up-and-coming designers to win the prestigious award for innovative design excellence. Winners will be funded to build their prototypes with world-class mentors and reach unparalleled exposure to the global design community and media.

To encourage young creative Kiwis to enter the global competition, Lexus of New Zealand has been working with local universities AUT and University of Auckland to incorporate the competition into course work through the semester.

Students have been supported and mentored by Lexus ambassadors Simon James and Scott Bridgens from Resident and given the task to imagine a world where design creates an enriched sense of happiness for all.

The competition encourages entrants to anticipate global challenges facing future society, engage in innovative ways which contribute to a sustainable future, yet seamlessly enhance the happiness of everyone.

We are taking a deeper look at some of the top designs from this year’s award, this week with second place winner at this year’s local competition; Mark Rous’ SADDLE.

Mark Rous – SADDLE

SADDLE is a modular furniture system – with a twist. Designed for areas with high throughput of people such as waiting rooms and lobbies, this design incorporates a system that increases air quality to support those with respiratory issues and aids with COVID-19 mitigation.

Based on a brief to develop a product that could utilise the qualities of Strong Wool effectively, SADDLE is made from untreated wood and upholstered using Aotearoa New Zealand grown Strong Wool. The modular chair can be scaled and arranged to fit any desired layout.

With the ever-increasing awareness of air pollutants, whether they are natural ones such as pollens, hair and dust, or unnatural ones such as co2 emissions or chemical fumes, Mark realised there would be a desire to control and prevent them from entering our airways. SADDLE is looking at ways we can utilise existing technology in an unobtrusive, efficient way.

The inbuilt Air-Purifying System uses Strong Wool as a pre-filter medium for catching large airborne particulates such as hair, dust and pollen, while additional filters capture finer particles and odours.

In addition to his innovative Strong Wool filtration application, SADDLE also includes a commercial HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter to reduce large hair, dust and pollen particles, fine micron particulates and odours. 

The aesthetic quality of SADDLE is designed to look visually appealing and to encourage users to sit and relax. The air-purifying qualities are designed to be functional but subdued in appearance as the areas where this is envisioned to operate in, it is not necessary for the majority of users to be aware of the extra functionality, but to benefit from it without being obtruded upon.

The modularity is designed to aid those looking to outfit a space with functional, comfortable, attractive furniture that also improves the rooms air quality.

Winners for the global competition will be announced in January 2023, selected to receive instruction and guidance from esteemed design professionals to further develop their prototypes.

To learn more about Lexus Design Award, visit www.lexus.co.nz/lda.html

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