Taken with a pinch of salt: the Audi Innovation Award winner

The 2019 Audi Innovation Award for the Middle East was presented to Amman-based design studio Twelve Degrees at the opening of Dubai Design Week.

Simplification was this year’s theme, and Twelve Degrees came up with a beautifully simplified dispenser for table salt and similar condiments. The need for a simplified saltshaker is questionable, since shaking a perforated container to season your food doesn’t seem too complicated; but there’s no denying that the Pincher is an elegant and clever piece of design.

Pincher prototype

The product is a silicon container with a pinchable end, so that the dispenser mimics the amount that would be released from between human fingertips as opposed to shaking salt or pepper randomly out of a dispenser. Users can literally add a ‘pinch’ of seasoning, and so can “control the flow of seasoning for a simpler and more intuitive user experience”.

Twelve Degrees will receive $25,000 worth of consulting services to develop the product plus a trip to the Audi HQ in Ingolstadt.

This is actually the second time that the Twelve Degrees team have won the award. In 2016 they tool the inaugural Audi Innovation Award (under the studio’s original name of Sahar Madanat Design – Sahar Madanat is the founder and creative director) for a One Handed Tableware Set, a dining set with an integrated anchorage system that grants one-handed users support in cutting their food. This has continued to evolve into a product line now called HandyPlate (below; it’s continuing to win awards).

Now in its fourth year, the Audi Innovation Award has grown in popularity and has become a staple of the regional design circuit; this year saw a record 2,500 registrations on the website from Middle East designers, though obviously not all entered – and several of the entries (including the winner) were pre-existing designs, rather than custom-made responses to the brief.

The Award’s goal this year, and the ‘simplification’ theme, was aimed at stimulating designers to propose everyday products that are simpler to use, to transport, that use less material or energy to be manufactured, or are easier to operate or store. “By proposing design solutions to impact the way an object is made, used, moved, or stored, the simplest products can enhance our quality of life by offering the luxury of more time – our most precious resource.”

The panel of 10 judges for 2019 was led by Hani Asfour, Dean of the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation. They shortlisted two other projects:

  • BENTOS Ahmad Alameh & Hadi Nassar A super polymer textile with a cut pattern that can be pressed into a particular angle such that it becomes rigid when bent and flexible when contracted. The resulting material can be used in various applications on the body to support movement, prevent over-extension, and bear weight — ideal for athletes, elderly, the injured, craftsmen and builders
  • Di_Wrapp Omar El-Dimassi A patented digital skin for the automotive industry. It adheres to the surface of any vehicle body and can be transformed through the use of a mobile app to serves as a billboard for advertising, alerts, general information or just personal customisation.
The Twelve Degrees team, Saher Madanat centre

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