Since its inception in 2007, the Prix Émile Hermès has supported innovation and promoted the work of talented young designers whose forward-looking, sustainable approach reflects our evolving society and lifestyles. For the second Prix Emile Hermès, the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès chose a universal theme touching on one of humanity’s most vital needs: to heat, me-heat, re-heat. The Prix Émile Hermès’ objective is to make the world a more beautiful place, achieved in a responsible manner through the application of sustainable materials and fair practices shared amongst young designers.
The Prix Émile Hermès took its name from the Hermès heir who took charge of the company in 1921. The award provides a ‘step-up’ to the career of aspiring designers in fields ranging from industrial design to interior architecture and architecture. This year’s theme - 'Heat, me-heat, re-heat' - is a collective theme focusing on one of humankind’s most vital needs. Mastering heat itself has challenged mankind throughout the ages. The materialization of the first constructed hearths, some 400,000 years ago, marked the beginning of human society as we know it. The firelight produced from the hearth not only provided heat, but a source of light; it extended the summer into the winter, and allowed mankind to settle in colder regions. T he hearth provided warmth, thus providing for better living conditions, provided for hygiene and cooked food, and an enhanced method for the manufacturing of tools. Last but not least, it has enhanced the concept of social mingling and interaction even till this day! Contestants of the Prix Émile Hermès 2011 competition were asked to respond to this concept with an innovative but practical exploration of the use of heat and its conservation. ''Entries for the Prix Émile Hermès 2011 represented an impressive, diverse range of designs, from inventive new devices for everyday living, to large-scale, ambitious technological projects. Broadly, designs fell into a range of categories, in particular: innovative heating devices, mobile heating, cooking systems, carpets and textiles, braseros, shelters, hand or feet-warmers, and composters.'' A total of 1,460 entries were received from 63 countries, from professional designers, students, architects, and interior architects.
Head judge Toyo Ito and president of the Fondation d'entreprise Hermès, Pierre-Alexis Dumas awarded the first prize and 50,000 EURO to the French collective Unqui Designers (Arnaud le Cat, Esther Bacot and Luther Quenum) for designing ‘Shelved Cooking,’ a sustainable, energy saving cook top. The team was inspired by traditional Norwegian slow-cooking where the ergonomic plywood-and-plastic system represents an economical, energy-efficient solution for casseroles and stews.
The second prize and 25,000 EURO were awarded to Daniel Abendroth and Andreas Meinhardt from Germany for creating the 'HAgent', an automatic, mobile heating device designed to capture and store excess heat, redistributing it in cooler areas.
While the third prize and a cash award of 15,000 EURO were awarded to Jarl Fernaeus from Sweden for designing and producing the 'Ecojoe stove', a highly efficient wood burning stove, designed to reduce the consumption of renewable solid fuel and limit deforestation and pollution in emerging countries.
Additionally, the jury praised the very high standard of all the projects submitted, and awarded a Special Mention to Mohsen Saleh and Seyed Abdolnasser Taghavi from Italy and Iran respectively, for their 'Light Farm', an architectural module using high-density photovoltaic technology capable of generating 40 percent of a household’s electricity needs.
However, we find it only reasonable to also present the entrants who might not have received an award, but made it to the finals with their interesting innovative projects. Among the finalists we also include: Clotilde Fromentin-Felix and Dong-Sook Lee-Taupin with CoverMeHot, a warming rug or throw. Nicolas Farinotti with Cut Carry Burn – a solid steel axe which combines three functions in a single object. Eliodomestico by Gabriele Diamanti, an eco-distiller running on solar power to provide safe drinking water to people in developing countries. Heat Pad Pencil by Chihiro Konno and Kenjo Ohashi, a heat pad created from pencil shavings thanks to the compositing process of the bamboo. Hotplate Hotspot by Felix Stark, a heated tablemat designed to collect residual heat from an electric or vitroceramic hotplate. Isole by Raluca and Johannes Egger – an elegant rug which is also acts as a portable heating device. The Volcanic Casing which Yatzer especially liked by Jèrèmy Murrier and Daniel Martinez Tinena – a crafted pumice stone and lava rock – a transitional object designed to capture heat from a specific source and diffuse it in a bed or living space. And last but not least, the Yatanpo Grip by Masahiro Asakura, a removable hand grip for chilly bicycle handlebars.
The winning entries, plus demos of how to use the projects from the twelve finalists, can be viewed on the Prix Émile Hermès interactive website until the next Prix Émile Hermès, in 2014.