As designers, competition is a priority. You can say it’s our way of showing off and sharing our creativity with the rest of the world. It is absolutely fascinating seeing what the restrictions, challenges and guidelines of each competition lead us to create.
Once we get together, nothing can stop us from coming up with a unique idea that breaks “the rule.” I recently entered two design competition with several of my colleagues at Lawrence Group including; Dean Sutton, Jerod Thornton, Terry McCoy, Theresa Sahrmann, and Kevin Le.
The first competition was the 2015 eVolo Furniture Design Competition. Designers were given multiple categories to choose from. In each category teams were tasked to build a furniture piece that would transform the way we live and interact with our environment. As a team we chose “planes” as our category and used it to create “Pop-Up Adventure.” Pop-Up Adventure is a versatile space that transforms into a living room, dining room, or bedroom by simply folding out the furniture from the surrounding corresponding walls, floor and ceiling…similar to a children’s pop-Up book. Furniture is made of thin planes of carbon fiber. Carbon fiber has been selected for its high strength to- weight ratio.
The limits of the “planes” category pushed us to find creative alternatives to household basics. One wall houses a Murphy bed flanked by flush, full height storage units. The opposite wall houses a fold- down dining room table for four, two benches, and storage compartments. Living room furniture; sofa, chairs and coffee table fold out of the floor. A contemporary ceiling installation fixture made up of thin lit planes. Organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) fold down from the ceiling. Each OLED “light bulb” is a thin film of material that emits beautiful soft diffused light when electricity is applied. Flat screen monitors and electronics are also integrated into selected faces.
The second Competition was the reTH!NKING Homeless Cover Competition. Designers were challenged to design a homeless shelter that accommodates a maximum of 2 people with a maximum weight of 10 kilos.
For this competition, the idea of “Undercover-Uber” was born.
The Undercover-Uber is a portable, two person, all-weather shelter that can be used on all terrain and is designed to attach to a three-wheeled bicycle. The cover is portable and can be folded into a backpack. It folds into a 2′-6” square and weighs less than 20 pounds. The kinetic energy created by pedaling the bike can be stored in a battery for power to use for light or music. The Undercover-Uber is designed to supply not only shelter, but an opportunity to generate revenue for the person living in the cover.
The greatest part of each design challenge to me is that there is always an opportunity to solve a bigger, deeper issue that can make the world a better place. I especially realized this when working on the Undercover-Uber project. I’m proud to work in a field that allows me to be creative and do what I love, while also constantly facing a variety of opportunities to provide solutions that can make a big impact.Rawan Abusaid