The 16th International BraunPrize for young designers has been awarded to Donn Koh from Singapore for his project "LeapFrog", a new type of walker for children suffering from cerebral polio or spina bifida.
As the BraunPrize winner 2007, Donn will receive a prize fund of 12,000 Euros and can additionally choose to take a paid six-month internship at Braun's Design Department. The BraunPrize winner was revealed during an Award Ceremony at Braun's headquarters in Kronberg, Germany on the 12th September.
Singapore-born Donn has a first class honors degree in Industrial Design from the National University of Singapore, as well as having completed a 5-month Transportation Design course at the University Academy of Academy of Art & Design in Beijing, China, which he attended on an exchange programme. Currently Donn is an Industrial Design apprentice, learning more practical skills and honing his craft.
Even with such a formidable design pedigree, the journey from competition entrant to BraunPrize winner is an arduous, challenging one. Amongst 903 entries from over 50 countries, Donn's design project "Leapfrog" successfully passed two rounds of judging since the competition entry deadline on the 31st January 2007. Following this, as a finalist, Donn had to present his project and design ideas at Braun's headquarters in Kronberg, Germany, in front of an assembly of specifically invited guests with design expertise, including academics, commercial designers and journalists. It was this group of experts who communally cast their votes to select "Leapfrog" as the 16th bi-annual BraunPrize winning project.
The Winning Design
"LeapFrog" encourages and supports children with impaired mobility to rise from a sedentary position, while allowing them to practice walking and attain balance. The adjustment between the various positions, (i.e. sitting, standing and walking) takes place automatically and responds to the intention and movement of the child, whether during movement or when stationary. This feature prevents crashing and sliding when sitting and therefore prevents the child from acquiring erroneous movement patterns. The product's support mechanism can be set according to weight and therefore can be adjusted according to the child's development.
As such "LeapFrog" not only supports the physical development, but also the independence and self-confidence of the child.
Peter Schneider, Director of Corporate Design at Braun and Chairman of the BraunPrize jury, said, "This project is the result of thorough user research and offers a complex yet practical solution to different forms of physical disability."
He continued "The jury was impressed by the product's adaptability to different disabilities, the way it adjusts to individual users' unique challenges and its effectiveness as a form of physical therapy that motivates improvement and added confidence".
Donn Koh added "I am absolutely thrilled to have won the BraunPrize 2007, it is a really prestigious design competition that is known throughout the world and I am sure it will be an important milestone for my future professional development."
Out of a record number of 903 entries from numerous countries around the world, three other finalists were selected, including:
"Mengin" - by Spanish designer Bruno Peral Bey, designed as an innovative and versatile kitchen utensil for ethic food preparation.
"triops" - by German designer Franziska Faoro, designed to be a robust digital camera which can take images while being thrown, suspended or placed in an unusual location.
"Vision Energy" - by German designers Lena Billmeier and David Baur, a dynamic and futuristic ecological sculpture designed to be an artistic barometer for resource efficiency.
The BraunPrize Jury
The 2007 jury members of the BraunPrize were Moni Wolf (Director of Design at Motorola, iDEN, Plantation, FL, USA), Dr. Mark Breitenberg (Dean of Undergraduate Education at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA, USA), and Benjamin Holch, a free Design Consultant and the winner of the BraunPrize 2003.
The three guests joined Braun representatives Peter Schneider, Director of Corporate Design and Udo Milutzki, Vice President of Engineering, Gillette, Kronberg, Germany.
The BraunPrize jury met twice after all entries for the 2007 BraunPrize were received in January. Entrants were asked to submit product designs, in the form of design sketches, technical drawings and project descriptions that will make people's lives easier at home, work, school, during sports and leisure activities or in the context of health and healthcare. From the 903 entries submitted, an initial shortlist of 68 entries was drawn up and entrants were asked to provide models of their design concepts. Finally, four projects were shortlisted by the jury for the final. The ultimate winner of the BraunPrize was then chosen by guest jurors invited to the BraunPrize Forum at Braun's headquarters in Kronberg, 12th September.
The BraunPrize Exhibition
The 2007 BraunPrize Exhibition which was opened in context of the Award Ceremony is shown from September 13-28, 2007, at Braun's headquarters in Kronberg, Germany, before it travels around the world. The exhibition comprises the 24 best design projects (models) of the 2007 International BraunPrize as well as the photo exhibition of the 19 best entries from the national BraunPrizes of both Mexico and China.