Dwell's Innovate It! Winners Announced

Phase II of Dwell's Innovate it! design competition has ended. Many Innovators from the Dwell community answered the call and submitted their redesigns for the three problem objects we chose in Phase I of the competition—the antiquated ironing board, the pants hanger that leaves a crease or fails to hold your garment in place, and a coffee mug that leaves rings on tables and paperwork. After reviewing all the entries, the Dwell jury has deliberated and the winners have been chosen.

Without further ado, the winners are:

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Problem Object #1: Don't-Drop-Your-Pants Hanger
Winner: The Memory Hook by Marco Antonio Guardarrama Favela and Andres Felipe Carreño

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What pushed the Memory Hook to the front was the simplicity of its design. The choice to use injection molded polypropylene—a strong, lightweight, cost-effective, and recyclable material—makes it easy to manufacture, and is a sustainable allocation of resources. And the simple flap design ensures that the pants aren't going anywhere. One concern is that the current design would still create a crease in pants. This could be solved by rounding off the plane that the pants rest on, and increasing the surface area. Ultimately, ease-of-use—you simply slide the pants into flaps—and sustainability carried the day.

Problem Object #2: Not Yo' Mama's Ironing Board
Winner: The Stironie Easel by Sejal Parekh

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Sejal's design (the name is short for "steaming and ironing genie") is a completely new conception of the ironing board—turning the ironing surface upright creates the added functionality of a steaming platform, provides greater stability, and mitigates the problem of pesky electrical cords. With an eye on sustainability, the Stironie is constructed from the same materials that comprise existing ironing boards—no need to create costly new modes of manufacture. Though the size of the Stironie could be improved upon and the means of suspending the clothing may be an issue, this was the most innovative ironing board design.

Problem Object #3: A Great Coffee Cup that Doesn't Leave a Ring
Winner: The ëfuso by Toby R. Keeton 

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This category really struck a nerve in the Dwell community. It seems that people are sick and tired of rings from coffee mugs, and they demand justice. The ëfuso is an accessory to existing mugs that takes biomimetic cues from nature: It employs hollow channels and canals—similar to the xylem in plants—that take advantage of the cohesive properties of water to siphon off and store any liquid that leaves the mug, either from stirring or drinking. The design earned high marks for sustainability because it's made from repurposed tire rubber and it eliminates the need to replace existing mugs. Another advantage of the ëfuso is that it could be applied to all manner of hot-beverage receptacles—different size ceramic mugs, travel mugs, etc.

Congratulations to Marco, Sejal, and Toby! Each Innovate it! winner will receive a $750 cash prize from Volkswagen CC and two VIP tickets to Dwell on Design, the West Coast's largest modern design event, held in Los Angeles on June 26-28, 2009.

Thanks to all who put their time and energy into their submissions for this contest. We had fun with it, and we hope you did too.


Illustration by Tyler Johnson of Nomad Ink 


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