‘Evolution’, ‘innovation’ and ‘eco’ were the buzz words heard in this year’s WAN Product of the Year Award jury session, which saw Scott Lawrie from ALL Design, Tim Morgan from Pilkington, Brendon Moss of Land Securities, Zoe Laughlin from the Institute of Making and Buro Happold’s Andrew Best come together to reduce a longlist of thirty-four fantastic products to a shortlist of six.
Widely recognised as one of the more challenging judging sessions in the WAN AWARDS, the Product of the Year category regularly sees our jury panels compare façade panels with garage doors, cable tray systems with recycled wood products, and storage solutions with LED lights.
For our jury this year, it appeared that products which pushed the boundaries of their field would top the tables with the word ‘evolution’ cropping up on more than one occasion. FAKRO’s Balcony Window FGH-V P” Gallery, KONE’s MonoSpace and Rolflex’s Compact Industrial Door were all singled for their evolutionary qualities, each adding something different to the final shortlist.
Also of great interest to the jury panel was the concept of sustainability, especially this year with the award being sponsored by BAU. Best was first to notice the eco-credentials of Ty-Mawr Lime Ltd’s Glaster, a highly environmentally-friendly alternative to lime plaster, commending the initiative shown by the practice who developed and tested the product themselves.
Another product flagged for sustainability was the Escea DX1500 Gas Fireplace, a highly efficient fireplace that offers the user the ability to control its features via a range of electronic means, such as iPhone, Android and internet. Moss explained: “As far as any individual innovation is concerned, the fire itself is not innovative, the ducting is not innovative, the iPhone is not necessarily innovative, but the combining of them all into a modern, quite sleek product probably is the innovation.”
WAN Product of the Year Shortlist
-“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this before”
-“It’s good that it rotates 380 degrees so you can clean it as well, which is helpful…”
-“I like that it gives you additional area to stand in, offering some extra space for rooms that are in the eaves of a building”
The new KONE MonoSpace, UK - KONE
-“I think for a big company that has a very established range of products, their evolution by definition is incremental, but what they’re saying here is that this particular model is quite a big step forward in terms of what they’re doing, which is good”
-“They seem to be the most energy saving product on paper”
-“It makes an awful lot of sense for hotel and residential schemes, and I think all the items they listed in their submission point towards great innovation in the lift industry”
Glaster,UK - Ty-Mawr Lime Ltd
-“If we’re talking about innovation, especially in today’s market, people getting together and actually coming up with a product, and I think it is quite something that they have done something with that”
-“I think it is more flexible and yet still stronger than conventional materials”
-“They’ve developed it themselves, they’ve tested it themselves, I think that is very commendable”
-“It’s reasonably flat, but it takes a certain amount of space and would need to be factored into the design, but it’s quite interesting and once you see it, it makes you think ‘of course, if you can extract heat energy from the waste, then that has to be a good thing”
-“This shower heat recovery solution I think is one of those ‘of course!’ moments - it makes sense”
-“This is something I might take away with me as a simple idea that is thought-provoking in the right direction from an eco-credentials point of view”
-“As far as any individual innovation is concerned, the fire itself is not innovative, the ducting is not innovative, the iPhone is not necessarily innovative, but the combining of them all into a modern, quite sleek product probably is the innovation”
The Compact Industrial Door, Netherlands - Rolflex
-“It’s panels, but normally when it’s a panelled door they normally slide up in a big chunk up into the roof, this one rolls up and occupies a relatively small space, that’s the innovation. And they can build a wicket door panel if required, which is quite good”
-“I’m going to take one of these pages with me for something that is being worked on in my building”