Spark Design Awards Toasts Winners at Annual Celebration

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Seventh Year of Spark Design Awards Ends on a High Note

"We always look forward to the Spark Celebration. It signifies that another cycle has been completed, a new group of innovative designs have been gathered and we’re about to meet many of their designers in person," according to Peter Kuchnicki, Spark Founder. "This year the Celebration truly reflected design diversity and universality. We had visitors from around the world and many delightful designs in the winners exhibition."

"Spark mounted a remarkable seven competitions in 2013, with a total of 57 Bronze awards, 43 Silver, 40 Gold and 38 top-level Spark! awards," commented Clark Kellogg, the Celebration Master of Ceremonies. "53% were from the States, 34% from Asia and about 12% elsewhere. Possibly this reflects the state of these regional economies."

The Celebration is also where the Spark “Bests of the Best” are announced. These awards are given to three winning designs from the year that epitomize the Spark mission—Design For Betterment. The three awards are all of the same level and may come from any of the seven competitions. They are chosen by alumni Spark Jurors from 2007 to present.

Design authority Arnold Wasserman is the AllSpark Jury Chair and Host. Wasserman teaches at Carnegie-Mellon and is the founding partner of the Collective Invention consultancy.

The winners were the BMW i8; Door to Door For Change and Heart 2B. The following comments from the designers highlights the intention of each design:

BMW i8
"The plug-in hybrid BMW i8 is low-carbon and environmentally efficient, yet has all the characteristics of a full-blooded sports car. The front appears extremely low and wide. Everything is arranged to be optimally aerodynamic. The flat, but prominent double
kidney grill makes this vehicle’s origins clear. A V-shaped ‘black belt’ starts on the bonnet, wrapping around the bodyshell." Design Lead: Benoit Jacob.

Door to Door For Change
"This is a pilot project from the Social Services Department in The Hague, whose goal is to break the poverty cycle through social activation. This EU-funded pilot targets 150 families who have been receiving social assistance for 3+ years and tackles the intergenerational problem of "inherited" poverty." Designers: Lea Ward, Evelyn Smeets and Marieke Greeve, Cnote and Jan Donders, Gemeente Den Haag and Mathijs Tuynman, Trimbos Institute.

"Despite the necessity of annual breast cancer check-ups, the current diagnosis system consists of a cold, intimidating and uncomfortable apparatus. Our goal was to ease the displeasure of female patients and make these exams less of a burden to be avoided. The Heart2B is a new-type of ultrasound device specialized to detect breast cancer. By hugging this cozy device, patients will feel more secure and comfortable." Student Designers: Junyoung Park and Hyemin Bae.

"The 2013 AllSpark Platinum Awards demonstrate again the breadth of reach as well as the depth of maturity of design today. The AllSpark jury selected three "Bests of the Best" of the 176 SPARK winners. In these AllSpark designs we can see three of the most salient current trends in design:

The first trend is TRANSITION DESIGN: This design addresses a traditional category - automotive - with an artifact that is shiny, fast, glamorous, exclusive, makes sexy noises and costs a lot of money. This design applies technology, material science and aspirational esthetics to advance personal mobility along the pathway toward sustainable production and consumption. This Transport Design AllSpark winner is the BMW i8 plug-in electric hybrid car.

The second trend is SOCIAL INTERVENTION DESIGN: This pilot experience design project in Holland helps families break the cycle of long term poverty. It applies information, communication, interaction and experience design methods to address a complex, wicked problem that has social, economic and political impact for large numbers of marginalized people. This design creates a context where social workers learn how to use design tools for greater efficacy and recipients become self-aware problem solvers who begin to view themselves as agents on their own behalf rather than helpless dependents of the State. This Experience design AllSpark winner is titled DOOR-TO-DOOR FOR CHANGE: Breaking the Cycle of Poverty.

The third trend is EMPATHETIC DESIGN: This medical device design addresses the standard exam routine for breast cancer that women must undergo on a regular basis. The designer takes notice of women's’ feelings of discomfort, anxiety and embarrassment associated with the exam. The design solution elegantly marries insightful observation and sensitive personal aesthetics with diagnostic, health tracking and analytic technologies. This student Concept AllSpark winner is titled Heart2B.

We are delighted to present the 2013 ALLSPARK PLATINUM awards for these three outstanding exemplars of TRANSITION DESIGN, SOCIAL INTERVENTION DESIGN and EMPATHETIC DESIGN."


For 2014, the Eight Annual International Spark Awards will continue to explore new directions, with the launch of two new competitions: Spark Health, focused on health and medical related design, including devices, facilities and systems; and Spark Screen, for design delivered on a screen, such as motion design, applications, broadcast and film.

"This is the 8th year of Spark, so we are excited to announce our Call For Entries for 8 competitions and 8 all new juries. To find out more, please visit the website."

To register and join the Spark Community, visit

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