Difficult contests are the ones worth winning. Even those at the top of their game will concede that easy victories don’t have the same feeling. Beating a toddler at tennis isn’t the same as winning Wimbledon. You enter a contest to triumph over your competitors and your own preconceived limitations. The winners of the 2021 Polestar Design Contest know this all too well.
This year’s submissions, like last year’s, were a parade of creativity, innovation, and outside-the-box thinking. They exceeded the brief of “progress” with designs that both acknowledged current societal issues and demonstrated ways to solve them.
France’s David Vultaggio won first place in the professional category with Polestar H-UB. A combination of brand experience centre and charging station made from sustainable materials, this design uses a bio-mass roof to produce hydrogen to charge vehicles, from cars to watercraft and everything in between.
Chinese design student Mingwei Liu won the student category with Glad to be Dirty, a small, geometric car equipped with filters that remove harmful pollutants from the air. No longer is it a point of pride to have the cleanest car on the street. Glad to be Dirty’s side panels prominently display the dirt filtered from the air, showing the car’s contribution to the air we all breathe.
And in another repeat of last year, there is an honourable mention. Kristian Talvitie’s submission, entitled KOJA, is the Finnish design student’s way of reducing travel while still bringing people closer to nature. A small, low-resource building with panoramic views, KOJA attaches to tree trunks near the canopy, providing an immersive experience much closer to home than previously possible.
The finalists of the 2021 Polestar Design Contest created some truly fantastic designs. It was a hard-won victory for the winners. Which makes the win that much more meaningful.
The hypothesis: Polestar 2 looks at home in any environment. The reasoning: Polestar 2’s minimalistic, modern design is the logical next step from Polestar 1, which was proven to look good against any backdrop during a previous photo contest. So, to test our hypothesis, we held the contest again, with Polestar 2 as the subject.
Our world is one of systems. Society functions as it does because of these complex, far-flung networks of production, distribution, and consumption. But what happens when these systems fail? When a component is removed, examined, and recontextualised? These questions are what fascinate Norwegian-German artist Yngve Holen, who has given new context to several objects (a Polestar 2 headlight among them) in his latest solo exhibition.