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Kenyan firm win 2020 Lexus Design Award

Kenyan firm BellTower has been named the winners of the Lexus Design Awards 2020 after emerging the best out of 2,000 entries from 79 countries.

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Kenyan firm win 2020 Lexus Design Award www.bamcos.co.ke
The BellTower team: John Brian Kamau, Joyce Wairimu Gachiri, Ian Githegi Kamau, Esther Wanjiku Kamau, and Arvin Booker Kamau

Kenyan architecture firm BellTower has won the Lexus Design Award 2020.

The bellTower was sounded by John Brian Kamau, Joyce Wairimu Gachiri, Ian Githegi Kamau, Esther Wanjiku Kamau, and Arvin Booker Kamau in 2014 with the vision of using open source systems and technologies to solve real-life problems.

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The team has combined skills in risk management, information technology, design, project management, and strategy, to build an open-source community model for personal, corporate, and industrial needs.

Kenyan firm win 2020 Lexus Design Award www.bamcos.co.ke
Lexus Design Awards 2020 winning project by BellTower

“Our journey began with many challenges,” says John Brian Kamau, accepting the award on behalf of BellTower. “However, we persevered to showcase our ambitious concept. Our experience has taught us invaluable lifelong lessons.”

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The shortlist selection for the 2020 Lexus Design Awards also included an interesting mix of life-solving concepts. Los Angeles-based Paul and Garrett Sutherlin Santo’s “Biocraft” concept combines natural biopolymers with emerging technology to produce materials with advanced capabilities to help improve our health and the environment.

Kenyan firm win 2020 Lexus Design Award www.bamcos.co.ke
John Brian Kamau, accepting the award on behalf of BellTower

While “Feltscape” by Théophile Peju and Salvatore Cicero is a breathing cloud made of felt and recycled bioplastic, using an innovative robotic fabrication process to foster the philosophical idea of isolation.

Elsewhere, Yaokun Wu’s “Flash Pak” is installed on lamp posts to make life jackets easily accessible to people in high-risk flood zones. The natural buoyancy of the life jacket allows it to rise up to the water’s surface for easy access, regardless of the height of the water level.

Kenyan firm win 2020 Lexus Design Award www.bamcos.co.ke
BellTower would like to address the challenges often found in developing countries by using smart open-source planning to design affordable communities with sustainable clean water resources

“L.I.C.K.” by Irina Samoilova is a portable body cleaner designed to help people who are unable to use a bath, while Aqsa Ajmal’s “Pursewit” simplifies the sewing machine design for the visually impaired.

“Great designers thrive in difficult situations and help individuals and society deal with unexpected change,” says one of the awards judges Paola Antonelli – a concept which feels highly fresh and relevant today as we face critical challenges from the current coronavirus crisis and set out to rethink better societies for the post-pandemic future.

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