Movie: jury member Tobias Lutz explains why a folding boat and a mini greenhouse were among winners of the Unique Youngstar outdoor product design competition, in our second movie from garden trade show Spoga+Gafa.
Students and young designers were invited to submit prototypes of garden or outdoor products for the Unique Youngstar competition, 15 of which were shortlisted and displayed at the Garden Unique area of Spoga+Gafa in Cologne earlier this month.
"The Unique Youngstar competition was started in order to develop new ideas in the garden furnishing and garden products field, which is a growing industry," explains Lutz, CEO of products database Architonic and a member of the Unique Youngstar jury.
"It took a long time [for the jury] to decide the winner. We decided on three projects for the first three places and one special mention."
First prize went to French designer Thibault Penven for his foldable boat Ar Vag, which comprises a wooden bench, fibreglass poles and a PVC skin, and is put together like a tent.
"It is one of the projects where we really see tremendous depth of research," says Lutz. "Shape is one thing, research and material is another thing and this project really shows a passion for an idea. It goes far and the result it surprising. I think that's really what we call design."
Dutch designer Francien Hazen was awarded second place for her Watercabinet, which attaches to a downpipe to collect rainwater and houses a water butt, pump, hose, tap and even a small greenhouse.
"We gave the second prize to an extended drainpipe," says Lutz. "What is beautiful in this idea is the designer decided to use the water to add a functionality to this drainpipe and make it charming in a very Dutch way."
Swedish designer Matilda Lindblom picked up the third prize for her collection of garden furniture called Contio.
"What we like [about these products] is the different applications of materials, of old technologies with new technologies," Lutz explains.
Swiss designer Markus Bangerter's Polufine chair made of heat-moulded textile straps also got a special mention from the jury.
"This is not for the end result of the product that we saw," says Lutz. "It's more the way the designer researched how to develop new ways to stabilise textile plastic straps and heat them and get them to a stable construction."