VOLVO SportsDesign Awards: EcoDesign 2008

The winners for the 7th VOLVO SportsDesign Awards were announced earlier this week in Munich; this year's theme, "EcoDesign," insured that green design would permeate the seven categories of outdoor gear: ski equipment, board equipment, outdoor equipment, apparel, wheelers, accessories, and concepts.

Shining the spotlight on sustainable design meant that all entrants would focus on systematically incorporating ecological factors at the earliest stages of the product planning, development and design process. Judging by the winners, each did a pretty good job; Patagonia, pictured above, was awarded "EcoBrand of the Year" for their continued commitment to sustainability, green design and corporate responsibility. As for the products themselves, there were some pretty interesting designs that were recognized with an award. Hit the jump for more on some of our favorites, including a bamboo snowboard, a modular wooden boatbuilding concept and more. ::VOLVO SportsDesign at ISPO 08 via ::Core77

"The Sick Stick from Salomon Snowboards is the result of a three-year development process, driven by Salomon's goal to improve the performance of their products while significantly reducing the ecological cost of snowboard production. The patented construction process takes advantage of the naturally outstanding properties of bamboo fibers, replacing layers of fibreglass and resin involved in traditional board production with structural bamboo veneers.

"In each board, 400 grams of bamboo replace 300 grams of plastic, 100 grams of resin and 200 grams of fibreglass. The Sick Stick comes in a cotton-bamboo knit bag instead of a PVC sleeve, while the hangtags are printed on recycled paper instead of coated stickers."

"The Italian company Nextec Srl introduces OutDry technology, a completely new waterproofing method for footwear. OutDry is a one-step direct lamination of a waterproofing and breathable membrane onto the upper inner side. Traditionally, a waterproof/breathable function in footwear requires a combination of many different kinds of materials (membranes), chemical substances and cements. The standard system is actually based on a sock-shaped waterproof lining that is completely separated from the external shoe layer.

"This technical solution is not effective as the rain can still penetrate in between the upper and the bootie, soaking the shoe and making it damp and heavy. To compensate for such a lack of performance, shoe upper materials are therefore heavily impregnated with perfluorinated chemicals.

"OutDry is a completely different way to approach the waterproofing issue in footwear. With OutDry, the rain is stopped at the shoe surface, and with the more efficient use of less material, the waterproof function is greatly enhanced. Its unique "direct lamination" concept presents a more effective (higher performance) and efficient (less material involved) method. OutDry lamination process is realized by hot-melt glue mesh — there is no use of solvent-based glues, which are widely used in standard 'bootie' process to keep the traditional waterproof in the correct position."

"Max Koriath, a student from the Weissensee School of Art in Berlin, had the idea to combine the look of a known traditional material with a shape normally found in industrial manufactured products. He took a wooden boat and interpreted it with an entirely new manufacturing process. The production process for wood boats is comparable to that of fibreglass-reinforced plastic boats: It is a modular concept, with the boat produced in parts not as a whole hull. No chemical emissions result and there is less health risk to the workmen.

"The boat is made of beech wood, which is forested in Germany and other countries. The beech wood is worked in an industrial process that makes three-dimensional rounded freeform surfaces possible. Crafted in this way, it may substitute for common fibreglass-reinforced plastic materials currently used for boats. Another process makes the wood resistant to mildew, making it viable on the water."

Congratulations to all the winners; each represents the importance of considering the environment from the beginning of the design process through the end of its manufacturing, and each shows us that there's a better, greener way to design everything, whether its an entire structure (as with the boat) or a coating for your boots. Lots to see and learn at VOLVO SportsDesign.

Tags: Design Competitions | Germany

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