Italian designer Fabrizio Alessio wins top prize at the Shenzhen Design Award for Young Talents with his design of an open-source wheelchair project.
WINNERS of the Shenzhen Design Award for Young Talents (SDAY) were unveiled yesterday. Italian designer Fabrizio Alessio won the top prize with his design of an open-source wheelchair project.
Alessio stood out from over 260 contestants and won the Grand Award with a prize of US$20,000. He impressed the international jury, which consisted of seven top-notch designers from home and abroad, with his design of a DIY wheelchair project called TooWheels.
The project enables people with disabilities to make their own wheelchairs anywhere in the world with local materials. Users can download files and instructions of the construction online, customize a wheelchair for themselves and make the wheelchair at home or using digital fabrication equipment if they are close to a FabLab.
Compared with buying a wheelchair, the project provides users the option to make a customized wheelchair at one-10th of the cost.
Alessio is a freelance designer and assistant professor at the Polytechnic University of Turin in Italy. He mainly engages in product design, concept development, mass production and model making. He won the Compasso d'Oro International Award, one of the most important design awards in the world, in 2016.
Ten designers and design teams from Saint-Etienne in France, Hong Kong, Macao, Beijing and Shenzhen won the Merit Award. Each of them will receive a prize of US$5,000.
Ten students and student teams from Mexico, France, the United Kingdom and China were offered the New Star Award for applying environmentally friendly materials or advocating for sustainable lifestyles in their design works. Each of them will be awarded US$3,000.
With the theme "Craftsmanship: The Spirit of Design," this year's awards encouraged designers to use their creativity to make cities more livable, promote the sustainable development of society and improve the quality of people's lives.
"I believe craftsmanship is about integrating humanism into technology. It's also about delivering core values and spirits of the times," said Han Wangxi, director of the city's information office, during a press conference held by the award's organizing committee at the Civic Center yesterday.
He said SDAY offers a good opportunity for young designers from across the globe to exchange ideas and cooperate with each other. "By hosting the award, Shenzhen can also improve the quality of its designs, upgrade traditional industries and enhance its international profile," said Han.
According to Han, nearly 600 pieces of work submitted by 260 designers and students from 21 cities around the world entered the competition.
Organized by the Shenzhen City of Design Promotion Association, the SDAY is a biennial award first launched in 2013, with the aim of rewarding young and talented designers below 35 years of age from cities named under the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN).