Twelve Upcoming Industrial Design Competitions!


Competitions can be an excellent way to showcase your work, get mentoring from experts, generate funding, and earn critical feedback on your ideas. New industrial design competitions are springing up every year. Line//Shape//Space created a list of 12 upcoming competitions to help stimulate you and your team to take the next step; from drawing to prototype or prototype to market. This list includes:

  • Cradle to Cradle Product Design Challenge: Currently open for submissions and sponsored by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute in partnership with Autodesk, the goal of this design challenge is “to eliminate the concept of ‘waste’ by designing products with materials that may be perpetually cycled to retain their value as nutrients to fuel growing global economies.” Prizes include $2,000 and a three-day pass to Autodesk University.
  • Makerspace Contest: Instructables presents some fairly serious hardware prizes for the dedicated makers out there. Participants compete for more than $30,000 in prizes.

It’s worth noting that most of these competitions are held at roughly the same time every year. If you’ve missed this year’s deadline, hang tight because another chance will be coming around. And, for others, the topic or project might change, but the organization won’t.

Review the rest of this list at Line//Shape//Space.

Enzo Mari Designed Furniture Will Raise Funds For Refugees


Italian artist and furniture designer Enzo Mari has given Berlin-based organization CUCULA (also called the Refugees Company for Crafts and Design) the rights to redesign and sell his Autoprogettazione furniture to raise funds for its refugee support program. Mari’s furniture was designed to be assembled from the most basic materials, using just a hammer and nails. The pieces built by refugees used wood from camp huts, as well as planks from boats used to travel to Lampedusa – an Italian island that serves as a European entry point for many migrants.

“The CUCULA educational programme aims to help refugees by teaching them to design and build furniture, and also offers general education, assistance with language skills, and legal advice. After hosting a workshop for West African refugees based around Mari’s principles, CUCULA founder Sebastian Däschle contacted the designer who agreed to let the organisation recreate and sell his designs.”

Four pieces created by CUCULA designers will be shown at the Cologne Fine Art fair, which runs from 18 November to 22 November 2015. All revenue from chair sales will go back towards supporting the project.

Read more about CUCULA’s initiative at Dezeen.

30 Weeks Accepting Applications for Founders Program

30 Weeks, an experimental program that provides a platform for gifted designers to create products and start companies is accepting applications through December 11, 2015, for their spring cohort. 30 Weeks embraces the principles of technology startups to help transform designers into founders.

“This learn-by-launching structure gives designers a chance to build their entrepreneurial skills in an environment that’s as close to the real thing as possible. In short: you get startup mentorship, discussions with industry leaders, real tools, group critiques, hands-on-help, a space to work in and the time to focus on your own product. Designers will be exposed to 5 key areas of learning: design, product, tech, business, and collaboration.”

The program brings in mentors from some of the brightest minds in design, tech, business and venture capital including a robust board made up of high-level individuals from IDEO, Google, Cornell Tech, Hyper Island, Cooper Union, Pratt, SVA, and Parsons.

Read more about the program and apply at 30 Weeks.

Kresge Foundation Announces New Grant Opportunity for Food and Revitalization


Earlier this month, the Kresge Foundation announced that they will award up to 20 planning grants of up to $75,000 each in the first quarter of 2016 as part of the initiative “Fresh, Local & Equitable: Food as a Creative Platform for Neighborhood Revitalization.” Organizations and collaborations that lead food-oriented development initiatives in economically distressed urban neighborhoods are eligible. Applications are due December 14, 2015.

“Throughout history, food has been inextricably tied to social cohesion, health, culture and entrepreneurship,” said David Fukuzawa, managing director of Kresge’s Health Program. “This initiative recognizes both the direct positive impacts of healthy, local food and the overarching role that food can play in neighborhood revitalization.”

The new grant opportunity is a joint effort by of Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program, which seeks to build strong, healthy cities by promoting the integration of arts and culture into community revitalization; and its Health Program, which works to enable communities to overcome economic, environmental and social barriers to health. Kresge’s goal for the initiative is to help create a sense of place in communities where culinary ventures are integrated into community life, creating synergies that exceed the sum of their parts.
Learn more about the new grant opportunity here.

Built by Women Call for Nominations


Nominations for the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation BxW DC competition are now open! The competition is open to the public and submissions can be completed via online nomination form or by downloading the PDF form and are due November 30, 2015. To submit images along with a printed form, email them to BxWDC2015@gmail.com, along with the completed Image Release Form. A jury of experts will consider all eligible BxW DC and winners will be announced in January 2016.

In order to be considered for BxW DC, sites must fit the following criteria:

  • The project (a built structure or built environment) must have a woman who was directly responsible for leading the design (architecture, engineering, landscape, or urban design) or leading the construction, either from the development or construction management team. Team nominations will also be considered.
  • Projects must be completed or have broken ground as of September 1, 2015and be located in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Statistical Area.

More information about the competition, BxW DC Steering Committee, BxW DC Jury, and BxW DC sponsors here.

Micro-Apartments for Affordable Housing


This summer, New York City follows in the footsteps of Tokyo and Seattle by creating popular, affordable, and extremely tiny urban living spaces. Its first micro apartment building, consisting of 55 prefab units that are all well below the city’s regulated minimum apartment size of 400 square feet, is up and running on Manhattan’s east side.

“More than half of city households devote more than 30% of their income to rent, which is the threshold for affordability as defined by federal guidelines. A family would need to make a minimum income of $114,000 a year to afford the median home price citywide (and a lot more in Manhattan). As a remedy, Mayor Bill de Blasio has pledged to build or preserve 200,000 affordable apartments over 10 years.”

These housing challenges have led Marc Norman to curate a show at New York’s Center for Architecture called “Designing Affordability” that explores strategies that designers, engineers, and architects can implement to address the issue of affordable housing.

Read more about how New York City is addressing affordable housing and how Norman’s show reflects on the issue.

Image courtesy of NARCHITECTS/MIR.NO

What The Maker Movement Needs To Learn


Vincent Purcell is a Baltimore-based maker who teaches about making culture at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He currently serves as an Open Society Institute-Baltimore Community Fellow, where his work centers on the use of technology and design to address and solve critical social and environmental issues. Impact Design Hub asked Vincent to give us an overview of a few projects in the realm of maker education that are working towards greater inclusion and impact.

Open any issue of Make: magazine and you’ll find an extraordinary breadth of inventive hacks and imaginative uses of technology, all embodying the can-do, DIY spirit of the maker movement and its associated makerspaces and innovation labs around the world. On its face, this movement is inherently educational – it’s about communing with other makers, hackers, engineers and tinkerers; it’s about learning by doing and educating one another. Anyone can make and so anyone can learn. But despite its ethos of open-source access and democratic, non-hierarchical structures, making isn’t quite the equitable playing field it aspires to be.


Metropolis Magazine Names Top Innovators to Watch


Metropolis Magazine has picked this year’s top innovators to watch. They include an architectural collective, a designer-mystic, a design strategist working for the federal government, and a pair of believers in the power of bottom-up development. A few of notable innovative architects and designers who are developing key strategies for the future are:

  • RAAAF: Dutch architects that combine design and philosophy in works that highlight urgent social and cultural issues.
  • LAB.PRO.FAB: Caracas–based architects who champion a bottom-up approach that strengthens community ties and puts good design in the hands of the public.
  • Assemble Studio: A London collective that creates architecture that is ad hoc, handmade, and community-driven.
  • Sean Baker: An IDEO protégé who expands the boundaries of designing thinking and strategy.

Read more at Metropolis Magazine.

Image Courtesy of Maarten Kools

Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards Call for Applications


On September 25, 2015, world leaders signed the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development. These goals set out to end extreme poverty, tackle climate change, empower women, secure universal water access, and reduce hunger by 2030. If the goals are met, they will ensure the health, safety and future of the planet for everyone on it. In partnership with the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and in collaboration with Ashoka, the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards were created to cull innovative and scalable technologies and initiatives that address eight of the aforementioned global goals. The goals include:


  • End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Ensure availability and suitable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all
  • Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
  • Ensure responsible consumption and production patterns
  • Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts


The competition is accepting applications through November 20, 2015. Seven young entrepreneurs will be chosen to receive a total of €200,000 in funding and support!

Read more about the Awards and how to apply here.

World’s Largest Conference On Green Building Taking Place November 18-20


Greenbuild, a premier event for sustainable building, is taking place November 18-20, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Featuring three days of speakers, networking opportunities, showcases, LEED workshops and tours of green buildings in Washington, DC, Greenbuild offers a place for thousands to gather and renew their commitment to the green movement.

“Green buildings rise up from our communities like beacons of innovation and thoughtfulness. Every façade tells a story, every foundation leaves a lasting impression—no marble inscription needed. Green building is uniting people, changing lives, revolutionizing business, and addressing our world’s most pressing problems. And that’s monumental.”

The conference will feature education in green building and renowned speakers in the industry.

The event schedule can be found here.