The award and merit of BraunPrize submissions for the 2012 BraunPrize Sustainability Award focused on design projects, with a particularly strong focus on sustainable solutions for everyday life. With such a high standard of entry, the jury selected two Sustainability Award winners in the student category, and one winner in the professional category.

Bruno Pagnoncelli, from Brazil, was awarded for his Nucleario – a concept of geo-engineering for forest restoration in degraded areas. Based on theories of natural succession and nucleation techniques, rainforest seedlings are dropped by helicopter on an industrial scale to give large coverage, minimum maintenance and maximum efficiency. Made of biodegradable materials, Nucleario is designed to serve multiple functions, including protection from ants, accumulation of water, shade for seedlings and crowning invasive species, and is easy to store and able to glide.

A Nucleario Project is currently being funded in partnership with the Brazilian government and sponsors and follows a Geographic Information System plan to restore 17 million hectares of degraded and unproductive rainforest in Brazil.

Jonathan Fraser, Julene Aguirre, Aran Dasan and Jacky Chung, students from the Royal College of Art in London, were recognised for their unusual project called Ento. This concept provides a roadmap for introducing edible insects into the Western diet, identifying alternatives to unsustainably produced protein.

From the professional and design enthusiast entries, the BraunPrize Sustainability Award recognised a group of professional designers from frog design, in the United States – Paul Bradley, Jonas Damon, David Gustfson, Jinseok Hwang, Ryan Wickre and Brian Wasson. Their Revolver design embraces a future beyond toxic back-up batteries and fossil-fuel-generated power with the creation of a portable wind turbine that can generate up to 35 watts of power for charging personal electronics, such as laptops or cameras.

Professor Oliver Grabes, chair of the BraunPrize jury and Head of Design at Braun, shares his insights into these Sustainability Award achievements.

“Sustainable design is extremely important to the BraunPrize,” says Grabes. “Since the program started in 1968, it has been an important element of the judging criteria.”

In the design industry and for product development, sustainability is one of the most challenging areas. As such, it is complex and difficult to incorporate sustainability aspects into the production of real products. “The BraunPrize acts as inspiration to designers and companies around the world, making interesting ideas public and honouring the talented people behind them,” explains Grabes.

The three winners of the Sustainability Award placed the theme of sustainability at the centre of their conceptual ideas, with the goal of designing around the objective of solving the larger sustainability issues the world faces.

“From reducing energy consumption through to wind power; limiting global warming through alternatives for protein production; to an ingenious idea for reforestation, it was the scale of the subject matter combined with fascinating, tangible product concepts that made these winners stand out.”

For the “new generation” of designers, as Grabes refers to students, sustainability is a key aspect of design. He says, with this focus outstanding work came from the student entries. “Students want to change the world, and such a noble ambition is pleasing to see. Reflecting the large number of entries and impressive standard of the sustainability concepts from this group, the jury awarded a second sustainability prize in the student category.”

Grabes found Nucleario by Bruno Pagnoncelli an interesting marriage between simple technology and nature. “The fact that seedlings fall from the sky is both a poetic as well as fantastic idea. The planting of seedlings is not carried out by hand. On average, one of six seeds will become a tree, as it occurs in nature. With an abundance of seedlings, it doesn’t matter if only one third actually grow into trees. This seems very engineered and yet very rational, which is what makes it so interesting.”

Ento was very thoroughly explored. “In this concept, design is used to address cultural resistance to eating insects and to raise awareness of the need to find alternatives to unsustainably produced protein. This was an interesting approach to a food source people traditionally resist. The potential for success lies in the cleverness of the design, as it reframes the concept of eating insects, almost disguising them.”

Revolver is a very simple and elegant design, compact, simple and easy to fold, with potential for other applications in daily life – not just at campsites or in emergencies. “The product conveys awareness and puts users in charge of their own electricity needs – giving people greater flexibility to generate their own power,” explains Grabes.

Sustainable design is integrally connected to P&G’s purpose and aim to support sustainability in all its operations and products. Len Sauers, Vice President Global Sustainability at P&G, praised all of the sub-missions in this new category.

“Sustainability is in Braun’s DNA and finding a sustainable way of creating new, innovative products is one of P&G’s major objectives,” says Sauers. “These exceptional winning design concepts bring that ethos to life and show that if we take our responsibility to the world seriously we can make a real difference.”

Established in 1968, the BraunPrize was Germany’s first international competition to promote the work of young designers.

Braun’s commitment to this cause is highly regarded by the design world and the design-aware public. In sponsoring the BraunPrize, Braun seeks to highlight the importance of industrial design and innovative products and to promote ideas for consumer products that help people in all aspects of their daily lives.

Curve magazine is following the progress of the BraunPrize.

For further information on the BraunPrize go to www.braunprize.com

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