Winners revealed for 2017 RSA Student Design Awards

Winning entries for this year’s edition of the annual social design competition include an indoor wheelchair which functions as an attractive piece of home furniture, and a carpet which uses human urine to grow crops in refugee camps.


The Royal Society of Arts has announced the winners of this year’s RSA Student Design Awards.

Now in its 93rd year, the annual design competition asks design students and recent graduates to tackle social, environmental and economic issues around the world through design and innovation.

This year’s winners include Rise, an intelligent carpet designed to grow crops in refugee camps which relies solely on human urine. Developed by Dominik Falconi, Denisse Rodriguez and Jose Ortiz from Tecnológico de Monterrey university in Mexico, Rise is based on a brief to use advanced textiles in order to improve people’s quality of life. Rise is made entirely from biodegradable materials and is suitable for often non-fertile humanitarian crisis regions.

Curve is Central Saint Martins student Nelson Noll’s take on “a wheelchair of the future”. The indoor wheelchair doubles up as a beautiful, minimalist piece of furniture which deliberately avoids the medically-focused look and feel of traditional wheelchairs. It also features an elevated seat height so that it is more suited to carrying out different tasks around the household.

Cash prize or paid work placement

Other winners include Lit, an app that allows users to carry out their regular food shop based on their unique dietary requirements and medical history by pointing out the “right” kinds of foods to buy, and a wearable tech design called Kamereon, which comes in the form of a shoe combining fashion and geodata in order to motivate wearers to exercise and socialise.

Additional highlights from this year’s competition are Culture Tower, a board game for schoolchildren which aims to tackle the cultural misunderstandings which can often lead to social tensions, and Infinity Mascara, a refillable mascara bottle which can be applied to an individual’s eyelashes using a 3D-printed fingertip.

The winners will receive either a cash prize or a paid work placement with a competition sponsor, as well as a fellowship to the Royal Society of Arts. They also join previous winners including Apple design chief Sir Jonathan Ive and Design Business Association (DBA) CEO Deborah Dawton.

The winners will be celebrated in a ceremony at the RSA’s headquarters in London on 21 June.

Culture Tower
Infinity Mascara
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