The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show

March 5—7, 2022 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

The World’s Leading Home + Housewares Show
March 5—7 | McCormick Place | Chicago, IL

gia Excellence in Student Design

2021 Winners Announced!

Global Innovation Awards (gia)

Excellence in Student Design

Entry for 2023 will be open Mid-August; Entry Deadline: December 16

The IHA created its Student Design Competition in 1993 to invigorate the housewares industry with the fresh ideas of top student designers and to encourage young talent to consider careers in the housewares business. Now in its 29th year, IHA’s competition is unique in the U.S. as the longest-running, industry-sponsored, merit-recognition program for industrial design students.

IHA Student Design Competition

At The Inspired Home Show’s annual student competition display, the six winning student designers meet business leaders and news media. Many past winners have been hired by IHA member companies, and home goods retailers; others have become entrepreneurs, educators and design managers for consumer products companies.

Entry for the 2023 competition will open in mid-August. Entry deadline will be December 16, 2022.

Meet Our 2022 Judges

Brian Bock

Industrial Designer
Hamilton Beach Brands
Glen Allen, VA

Evan Cincotta

Head of Design
New York, NY

Earle Cramer

Principal Industrial Designer
Newell Brands
Kalamazoo, MI

Chris Cunningham, IDSA

Cunningham Design
Chicago, IL

Robert Giacolo

New Product Development Program Manager
Naperville, IL

Carly Hagins, IDSA

Associate Professor of Product Design,
Western Michigan University,
Kalamazoo, MI

Lisa Heim-Yoo

Design Lead
Nu-Way Industries, Inc.
Des Plaines IL

Teddy Lu, IDSA

Creative Director
Chicago, IL

Anastasia Miller

Doris Dev
Senior Industrial Designer
Brooklyn NY

Jennifer Nemec

Principal, Founder
Ideation Studio Inc.
Chicago, IL 

Audra Norvilas

Senior Design Manager
Chicago, IL

David Richter-O’Connell, IDSA

Assistant Professor Industrial Design
University of Wisconsin-Stout
Menomonie, WI

Brandon Rodriguez

Industrial Designer
Smart Design
New York, NY

Kimberlee Wilkens, IDSA

Director, BDes in Industrial Design
Assistant Professor, Industrial Design
University of Illinois at Chicago

Meet the 2021 Winners!

Description & Comments

Bloom utilizes coffee waste to grow gourmet mushrooms and streamline in-home composting and gardening. The three-part system includes a container for coffee waste, a terrarium for growing mushrooms and a monthly subscription service for a mushroom spawn capsule. Built into the daily ritual of coffee preparation, Bloom enables clean and convenient recycling of coffee waste to yield mushrooms ready to harvest within three weeks. Bloom’s business model generates revenue beyond the initial hardware purchase.

Judges’ comments:

  • Supports trends in sustainable food sourcing
  • Product styling fits in today’s kitchens
  • Excellent fully functional prototype
Description & Comments

A long-lasting and elegant drip coffee maker, Pluto’s internal architecture and advanced technology reimagines the processes for heating water and brewing coffee, which drips into an insulated carafe that eliminates the need for a heating plate. Controlled by a phone application, Pluto’s software upgrades extend product life.  Users can easily clean and repair the appliance and return it to the manufacturer for recycling. By considering the product’s assembly, materials and systems, Pluto contributes to the circular economy.

Judges’ comments:

    • Commendable design for disassembly and sustainability
    • Comprehensive research into user needs and engineering feasibility
    • Professional-level presentation graphics, storytelling, models and sketches
Description & Comments

Sensitive to the needs of nursing mothers who may struggle with uncomfortable hand positions, the Wedge pillow adjusts to the contours of the mother’s body to support the breast. The pillow prevents postpartum injuries resulting from repetitive hand motions. Its bamboo linen covering absorbs spilled milk; the base, made of recycled plastic and filled with buckwheat and nano ceramic beads, provides an easier grip for positioning against the skin.

Judges’ comments:

  • Attentive user research led to insightful design explorations
  • Mature product aesthetic appropriate for infant care
  • Beautiful presentation with thoughtful color choices and typography
Description & Comments

Moove eliminates electronics by reexamining past technology for manual wind-up shavers. To operate the oscillating foil blade shaver, the user winds the crank to power the mainspring that activates the internal gear mechanism. An environmentally conscious alternative, Moove reduces the use of household electricity as well as e-waste generated by obsolescence and electronic failures.

Judges’ comments: 

  • Fresh approach to sustainability reemploys traditional technology
  • Impressive market and trend research
  • Modern, crisp presentation style and appealing video
Description & Comments

ReFresh, a durable, modular grocery carrier, enhances the shopping experience, helps consumers pack groceries as they shop and protects food in transit. Components are embedded with RFID chips, which allow for customized portions and recipe-based shopping. This also allows stores to monitor where baskets go, ensure their return and enables ReFresh containers to communicate with other smart systems like computerized bulk food dispensers. An eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic bags and packaging, the carriers can be sanitized for re-use by third-party operations.

Judges’ comments:

  • Research identified market obstacles and challenges for retailers and consumers
  • Forecasts future systems in grocery shopping
  • Clear, well-crafted presentation; compelling visuals and storytelling.
Description & Comments

PupRub is a mess-free paw salve/wax applicator, ergonomically comfortable for the pet owner and intuitive to use. The user twists the turn dial’s power-grip mechanism on the base of the PubRub to push the salve into the brush head, then applies it to the dog’s feet with a scrubbing motion. Three brush head sizes fit the paws of differing dog breed sizes. Lightweight and handy to carry anywhere, PupRub’s convenience encourages its use to prevent canine paw injury.

Judges’ comments:

  • Wise decisions toward best solutions during design exploration
  • Deep research into available products and testing with various dog sizes
  • Informative, clear presentation with fine sketches and narrative

Honorable Mentions