Lexus Design Award inspires Kiwis to create innovative solutions for a better future


Lexus Design Award
Lexus Design Award is providing a framework to nurture some of New Zealand's brightest up-and-coming talent to develop new design solutions that create a better tomorrow.

Young Kiwi designers are being inspired to develop new solutions to existing and emerging challenges, thanks to the local arm of a prestigious design award.

Since its inception in 2013, Lexus Design Award has served as an international design competition that propels fledgling talent into the limelight, igniting remarkable careers. The idea is to spark imaginative thinking, inspiring unique, captivating designs that intersect with thoughtful solutions, that lead to a brighter future for all. 

Winning provides the chance of a lifetime for up-and-coming designers to see their designs recognised and realised and give their careers a serious kick-start. Over the years this has led to a number of astonishing creations that provide new possibilities not previously unlocked.

2022’s NZ winners: Uttam Raju – Calico’s Salty Solution; Tony Cao – Advanced Sleeping Mask; Mark Rous – Saddle

These include designers that have revealed new ways to create and experience ceramic and glass interior art and lighting, clothing to heighten or mute our senses and support physical challenges, and new ways to support communities with financial or environmental limitations.

This year’s global recipients beautifully further indicate the gamut of solutions seen within the competition: Fog-X is a jacket that transforms into a shelter that catches fog and turns it into drinking water; Print Clay Humidifier is a 3D-printed non-electric humidifier made with recycled ceramic waste; Touch the Valley is a 3D topographic puzzle that helps the visually impaired learn about the physical environment through the sense of touch. Zero Bag is an eco-friendly package with paper detergent or baking soda film attached to an alginate water-soluble bag.

Students speak with Resident’s Scott Bridgens during one of this year’s mentoring sessions.

In New Zealand, 2023 is the fourth year Lexus New Zealand has partnered with tertiary institutions to run a local version. It’s an exciting opportunity in a very competitive field, dedicated to opening further doors for new designers just starting out in their careers.

Giving local students access to the framework of the competition and pitting their work alongside some of the brightest design talent in the country fosters some brilliant creative thinking. It was also intended to encourage Kiwis to then enter the global competition and help put New Zealand design (and their own talent) on the world stage, testing themselves against the best of the best.

The award invites students within four tertiary design courses to enter, with Lexus New Zealand again partnering with Auckland University of Technology (AUT) and the University of Auckland (UoA).

AUT Industrial Design and Creative Technologies students will be welcomed back to the local award this year, as well as those studying Design at UoA. After expanding to UoA for the first time in 2022 in The Future of Work and Play, Lexus is pleased to announce that a second course has been offered to participate in the local competition in 2023: Design for the Natural Environment.

Students in one of this year’s mentoring sessions with Resident’s Tim Rundle.

There is a cash prize but perhaps equally significant for those emerging into the workplace, support and mentorship throughout the competition is provided for entrants with established design experts. This is a key aspect of Lexus Design Award here and overseas, further reinforcing a commitment to fostering design talent across a range of industries. 

This year students at both universities will be supported by Lexus ambassadors Simon James, Scott Bridgens and Tim Rundle from internationally acclaimed design house, Resident, to provide advice and support for students. Resident is a leader in the ’New World Luxury’’ movement, a wave of innovative design-led, sustainability focused brands taking on the world from a Southern Hemisphere base.

The mentors will also contribute to the local judging committee.

Designers are asked to seriously consider how their designs can contribute positively to society and develop their entry accordingly.

Two first place winners in the local competition will receive $4,000, and two runners up will receive $2,000. (One winner and runner-up from each university will be chosen). All four winners will also have an opportunity to expand their professional horizons through an endorsement of their global entries by Lexus New Zealand.

Lexus New Zealand and Resident will announce the winners at an exclusive awards evening on November 8th, 2023.

To learn more about the Lexus Design Award, visit


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