Lexus Design Award 2017 is now open for entries with “Yet” as a creative theme

Dubai, UAE August 16, 2016: Following Lexus International’s announcement on the start of the Lexus Design Award 2017, Al-Futtaim Motors, exclusive distributor of Lexus in the UAE, calls all UAE-based artists and designers to take part in the international contest.

Lexus Design Award 2017 theme is based on the Lexus “Yet Philosophy” a breakthrough approach that takes seemingly conflicting or contrasting ideas as the basis for stimulating new ideas and creating solutions to complex problems.

Commenting on ‘Yet’, the creative theme for the Lexus Design Award 2017, Lexus International Executive Vice-President Yoshihiro Sawa said: “At Lexus, our ‘Yet’ philosophy gives us the courage to combine elements that at first seem incompatible – superior ride comfort ‘Yet’ exhilarating driving dynamics – for example. With ‘Yet’, we don’t compromise; we harmonize to create synergy that reveals unexpected yet amazing new possibilities. ‘Yet’ is the catalyst that triggers breakthroughs, the spark that ignites an explosion of creative potential. ‘Yet’ drives Lexus to explore visionary frontiers of design and technology that will shape tomorrow’s mobility”

Lexus Design Award 2017 will introduce twelve finalists and their works to the design community and beyond at Milan Design Week 2017*. Four of these 12 finalists will prototype their designs, mentored by globally recognized designers. The maximum production budget per prototype is JPY 3 million, equivalent to AED 107,000. Finalists will present their designs in the Lexus Milan Design Week experiential space. Judges will then assess the four prototypes to choose the Grand Prix winner who may receive the opportunity to bring his prototype to production.

First launched in 2013 to stimulate ideas for a better tomorrow, Lexus is celebrating the 5th anniversary of this international design competition supporting up-and-coming designers and creators worldwide.

The 2015 edition of the competition saw UAE-based designer duo Emanuela Corti and Ivan Parati win the Grand Prix title for their ‘Sensewear’ submission which is a collection of clothes and accessories that emphasize the use of senses, corresponding with the theme of the competition on that year. The duo also displayed their talent on the world stage and gained further exposure at design events in Tokyo and Moscow.

Following in the footsteps of the previous year Grand Prix winning, the Lexus Design Award received strong interest from the UAE art community in 2016, with 11 entries shortlisted proving the growing popularity of the competition in the UAE.

“The constant increase in the number of participations from the UAE is testament to the amazing talent existing in this country especially in the art and design scene,” said Chris Buxton, Acting Managing Director of Lexus at Al-Futtaim Motors. “After winning the Grand Prix in 2015, we committed ourselves to continue promoting the competition to show the world the potential we have in the UAE. We wish to see this year an even greater response from UAE-based artists who will hopefully qualify and take their work to the international stage at Milan Design Week 2017.”

Entries to the Lexus Design Award 2017 competition will be accepted from now till October 2016. The twelve finalists will be announced in early 2017.

* The world’s largest design exhibition, also known as Salone Del Mobile, presents events and exhibits by brands and designers in many categories including furniture, fashion and textiles.

Call for Entries to the Lexus Design Award 2017 Competition:


Lexus Design Award 2017

Application Period

August 10 – October 16, 2016



Judging Criteria

  • True to the essence of “Yet” with uniqueness in its interpretation
  • Consistent with the ideas of Lexus “DESIGN”


  • Paola Antonelli
  • Aric Chen
  • Toyo Ito
  • Birgit Lohmann
  • Alice Rawsthorn
  • Yoshihiro Sawa (Lexus International)


  • Neri & Hu
  • Max Lamb
  • Elena Manferdini
  • Snarkitecture

Award Categories

Lexus Design Award 2017 – Twelve finalists

  • One Grand Prix winner (selected from the four prototype winners)
  • Four prototype winners (selected from the twelve finalists)
  • Eight panel finalists


  • Twelve finalists will be invited to Milan Design Week 2017*.
  • Four winners among the twelve finalists will receive up to 3 million yen (around USD 24,000) each to cover prototype production costs. The four winners will create prototypes between January and March 2017, through sessions with their assigned mentors.
  • The four prototypes and eight panels will be exhibited at a Lexus exhibition space during Milan Design Week 2017.
  • Each of the twelve finalists will be asked to give a presentation at Milan Design Week 2017, after which a single Grand Prix winner will be named from among the four prototypes through final review by the judges.

* Only one person per entry will be invited, regardless of whether the winning works are submitted by an individual or a group.


Lexus International

In cooperation with

Design Association NPO

Application Process

For more information, visit

Judge Profiles:

Paola Antonelli / Curator

Antonelli joined The Museum of Modern Art in 1994 and is a Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design, as well as MoMA’s Director of Research and Development. She has lectured at TED, the World Economic Forum in Davos, and several other international conferences. Her goal is to insistently promote understanding of design until its positive influence on the world is fully acknowledged and exploited. She is currently working on several shows on contemporary design, and on States of Design, a book about the diversity and variety of design fields that exist today.

Aric Chen / Curator

Aric Chen is Lead Curator for Design and Architecture at M+, the new museum for visual culture currently under construction in Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District. He previously served as Creative Director of Beijing Design Week, leading the successful relaunch of that event in 2011 and 2012. Chen has curated and organized numerous exhibitions and projects at museums, biennials and other events internationally, and has been a frequent contributor to publications including The New York Times, Monocle, Architectural Record and PIN-UP.

Toyo Ito/ Architect

Ito graduated from the University of Tokyo, Department of Architecture in 1965. His main works include: Sendai Mediatheque, Tama Art University Library (Hachioji), Taiwan University, College of Social Sciences (Taiwan R.O.C.), ‘Minna no Mori’ Gifu Media Cosmos, etc. Projects Under development include: National Taichung Theater (Taiwan R.O.C), New Athletic Field and Sports Park in Aomori (tentative title) and several others. Among his many honors are the Architectural Institute of Japan Prize, Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale, Royal Gold Medal from The Royal Institute of British Architects and the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Birgit Lohmann / Chief Editor of designboom 

Born in Hamburg, Lohmann studied industrial design in Florence before moving to Milan, where she has lived and worked since 1987. She worked as a designer and product development manager for a number of Italian architects and master designers. She has also worked as a design historian for justice departments and international auction houses. As a researcher and lecturer, she has conducted seminars on industrial design at a number of prestigious international universities. In 1999, she co-founded designboom, where she is currently the Chief Editor, Head of Educational Programming and Curator for International Exhibitions. 

Alice Rawsthorn/ Design Commentator

Alice Rawsthorn is the design critic of the International New York Times. Her weekly Design column, published every Monday, is syndicated to other media worldwide. Alice is a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery and the Michael Clark Dance Company, and chair of trustees at the Chisenhale Gallery. Her latest book, the critically acclaimed Hello World: Where Design Meets Life published by Hamish Hamilton, explores design’s influence on our lives past, present and future.

Yoshihiro Sawa / Executive Vice President of Lexus International

Yoshihiro Sawa graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering and Design from Kyoto Institute of Technology. He has held a number of design-related positions since joining Toyota Motor Corporation in 1980, including Chief Officer of Global Design, Planning Division. He became Executive Vice President of Lexus International in April 2016.

Mentor Profiles​:

Neri &Hu/ Architects and Interdisciplinary Designers

Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, cofounders of Neri & Hu Design and Research based in Shanghai, have been working on projects around the world which incorporate overlapping design disciplines to create a new paradigm in architecture. In 2014, Wallpaper* announced Neri & Hu as 2014 Designer of The Year. In 2013, they were inducted into the U.S. Interior Design Hall of Fame. Neri & Hu believes strongly that research is a key design tool as each project brings its own unique set of contextual issues. Providing architecture, interior, master planning, graphic and product design services, Neri & Hu recognizes that contemporary problems relating to buildings extend beyond the boundaries of traditional architecture. Rather than starting from a formulaic design, Neri & Hu’s work is anchored in the dynamic interaction of experience, detail, material, form and light.

Max Lamb / Designer 

A modern day artificer, Max Lamb is a product and furniture designer whose design sensibility is informed by his extensive knowledge of manufacturing techniques, respect for materials, and skill as a maker. A native of Cornwall, Max has been tinkering with objects and engaging with the physical landscape since he was a small boy; a curiosity that led to an MA in Design Products at the Royal College of Art and subsequently the foundation of his workshop-based design practice. Max explores both traditional and unconventional materials and processes, blending experimentation and rationale to create furniture and products that are both honest and intelligible. Max runs regular design workshops for companies and institutions around the world. 

Elena Manferdini / Designer, Architect

Elena Manferdini, founder and owner of Atelier Manferdini, with offices in Italy and California, has completed design, art and architectural projects in the United States, Europe and Asia including the Pavilion of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Her firm has collaborated with such internationally renowned companies as Swarovski and Sephora, and her work has been featured in journals and publications including Elle, Vogue and the New York Times. Currently Graduate Chair at the Southern California Institute of Architecture, she exhibits internationally and lectures widely having spoken at MIT, Princeton, Tsinghua University and Bauhaus. She was recently awarded the 2013 COLA Fellowship to support the production of original artwork. In 2011 she received a prestigious annual grant from United States Artists (USA) and her Blossom design for Alessi received the Good Design Award.

Snarkitecture / Artists and Architects 

In 2008 Daniel Arsham and Alex Mustonen founded Snarkitecture, a collaborative and experimental practice operating in territories between art and architecture. Sharing a mutual interest in the intersection of art and architecture since their student days together at Cooper Union in New York, their first commission was for Dior Homme. Deriving its name from Lewis Carroll's fanciful poem "The Hunting of the Snark", Snarkitecture designs permanent, architectural scale projects and functional objects with new and imaginative purposes, creating moments of wonder and interaction that allow people to engage directly with the surrounding environment. Transforming the familiar into the extraordinary, Snarkitecture makes architecture perform the unexpected. 

About Lexus Design Award:

First launched in 2013, the Lexus Design Award is an international design competition that targets up-and-coming creators from around the world. The award seeks to foster the growth of ideas that contribute to society by supporting creators whose works can help to shape a better future. It provides a unique opportunity for four finalists to work with a globally recognized designer as a mentor to create prototypes of their designs, and then exhibit them at one of the design calendar's most important events.

About Lexus:

Since its debut in 1989, Lexus has earned a worldwide reputation for high-quality products and exemplary customer service. Lexus is the hybrid leader among luxury brands, offering hybrids that provide the best in innovative technology and premier luxury. The evolution of Lexus is reflected in the progressive designs of its new vehicles. The signature spindle grille, dynamic light treatments, and sculptured lines create a distinctive look of luxury for Lexus.