Top Five - IDSA's 2005 IDEA Winners

A respondent to our new survey must be a longtime reader, because they requested the return of the long neglected TH Top Five. Maybe this will mollify them somewhat. A while back the Industrial Designer's Society of America (IDSA) unveiled the winners of their 2005 Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) competition. There were a few products that we have showcased previously, such as the iXi Bike, BYO Lunch Bag and Nike's Considered Boot, but they also showed some other goodies, that we though you might find intriguing. None of the five selected designs are the typical overtly eco-products that you find here daily, but they do indicate the enironmental considerations are finally reaching into the darkest corners of designer's thought processes. See pics and mini reviews below. (The People's Choice voting looks like it is still open, if you want to pass judgement.) See the Jurors comments at ::IDSA IDEA 2005
1. Timberland's Travel Gear line of shoes is modular. That is, you can buy the 'Shells' (read: outers) separate from the 'Chassis' (read: footbeds). This allows the shells to be more flexible so they can be pressed flat to take up less space. This can reduce the volume (by 50% they reckon) and weight of footwear for travellers, but more importantly the design thinking hints at a very green ethos too. Should one part of your shoe wear out, you no longer need to throw away the whole assembly. Just retain the functioning element and replace the other. Less waste, more utility. more value. ::Timberland Travel Gear
2. Design Directions' Solemates are an entirely different beast. Disposable footwear. We're told that locations like "hospitals, hotels, software industries, religious places, meditation centers, massage parlors, etc" use throwaway slippers and these are an attempt to make them less burdensome. Made entirely from recycled newsprint and other paper pulps, right down to the twisted paper cords and free of colourings or bleaches, the Solemates are biodegradable and cost about 12 Rupees ($0.30 USD). Well done India. ::Solemates at IDSA (no direct web site found)

3. Eva's Solo is a self-watering flowerpot. Now you can easily grow organic herbs without you needing to be a green thumb. In one of those "Doh! Why didn't I think of that?" ideas, it works so simply. The top pot has a wick, that lowers into the bottom glass pot. The plant draws up water, via the wick, as needed. Being transparent you can see when the underpot needs a drink. Ain't the Danish clever? ::Eva Solo
4. Akzo Nobel's 1-2 Paint tub thinks outside the square by going square. Their new paint bucket is rectangular with a lid that becomes the integral paint tray that is the perfect size for a roller. Although claims are made that no washing is required, we think this is a bit over the top - you still have to wash the roller. But certainly it reduces the waste and washing inherent in a separate tray. This time the kudos go to the Dutch. ::1-2 Paint Press Release
5. Moen Revolution showerhead. Firstly we have to point out that we could find no data to back up the claims that this showerhead uses less water to give a full body shower feel. Maybe we were looking in the wrong place, but there seemed to be no information on water flow rates on the Moen site for this product. What we did like, however, was the apparent innovation of twisting water into spirals to get more coverage from seemingly less H2O. ::Moen Revolution

[And the lead photo? Oh, that's the Tupperware Flat Out container that folds flat (fancy that). This should mean less CO2 emissions as the company's trucks will deliver more product and less 'air', per mile traveled. Not as 'green' as some of the others we admit, but does show how you can reduce volume and still get the 'service' from the product you want. And of course Tupperware is the epitome of a 'reuseable'. I'm still packing lunch into containers that once belonged to an ex-girlfriend's grandmother.]