After one year, 1,152 entries from 63 countries, 12 finalists, and four prototype presentations, Japan’s Hiroto Yoshizoe has been named the winner of the Lexus Design Award 2017 Grand Prix during Milan’s Salone del Mobile.
The designer, who was a finalist in last year’s competition with his water-activated color-changing planters, impressed the judges with PIXEL: an interactive device that utilizes a series of visors to create a range of light and shadow effects, inspired by a childhood memory of falling asleep to the glow of a television.
The international design competition was first launched in 2013 to support up-and-coming creatives using design to build a better future. For its fifth edition, the innovation competition focused on the theme “Yet,” which Yoshizoe interpreted as the interplay between light and shadow—much like the way a sunset can be reflected on a cloud as a gradation of color. Yoshizoe is based in Tokyo and is a graduate from Musashino Art University. He explained PIXEL further in a press release: “This work does the same by acting as a filter screen to show the viewer the existence and fascination of light and shadow,” he said.
In the final phase of the competition, Yoshizoe was partnered with Snarkitecture’s Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen, who mentored him during the prototype process. (The contest’s other industry mentors were Neri & Hu, Max Lamb and Elena Manferdini.)
“What I personally was interested in were designs or concepts or projects that are more experiential, more about a sort of overall impression,” Mustonen said of the choice to partner with Yoshizoe.
“The advice given from my mentors was very precise and accurate,” added Yoshizoe. “Their suggestion to test a form that I had not considered in the beginning allowed me to develop this work. They also gave me suggestions on new materials, which led me to a path that I did not expect. I am grateful for their advice.”
Along with the industry mentors, the contest was judged by a panel of leading names including Paola Antonelli, Aric Chen, Toyo Ito and Alice Rawsthorn. As the Grand Prix winner, Yoshizoe’s design PIXEL will be on display at the LEXUS YET pavilion at the Triennial di Milano.