The Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry announced yesterday the five winners of the 2011 Atir Awards for Israeli industrial design. Each year, one award is issued in each of five categories: consumer goods; tools and equipment; furniture and lighting; green/sustainable products; and concept design.
The winners were selected by a panel of judges made up of leading industrial designers and headed by Michael Ilouz, CEO of the Teva Naot shoe and accessory manufacturer.
The winner in the consumer goods category was Yetitoy, a children's tricycle manufactured by INRAM Development & Design and designed by Yama Design. For one thing, the tricycle is a platform for various accessories, wrote the judges. "The child can enrich their wondrous world of imagery by adding accessories such as ears, horns, a saddle and more," they wrote. In other words, this tricycle has a whole new "visual, minimalist and iconic language," they elaborated.
The prize in the tools and equipment category was shared by Lachish Industries for Mixellium, a self-loading silage mixer for livestock (designed by Amos Boaz), and Elbit Systems' Musketeer, a multirole light armored vehicle (designed by Yaron Loubaton).
The Mixellium is a one-person machine that can handle the entire process of preparing cow feed and feeding the beasts as well. An arm loads the different feeds, which are then mixed together to create a homogenous feed. It also sports a conveyor belt that brings the mix to the cows. The target market for this device, which is based on an older invention by the company, is giant dairy farms in Europe.
As for the Musketeer, made by defense electronics manufacturer Elbit Systems, it is a vehicle to carry troops on mission while protecting them from bullet fire. Tanks do the same thing: the Musketeer, on the other hand, is based on a regular car chassis. The idea behind the design, explains the ministry, is to take the car out of the civilian context and give it a new look, which can be said to have been achieved. The final look of the vehicle is a function of the manufacturing technology and the requirements of protecting soldiers from getting shot, the judges said.
The prize in the furniture and lighting category went to Spring Candlesticks, manufactured by Hollamama (designed by Dor Carmon). The candlestick world is generally a boring place, explained the judges, but Carmon makes his unique by using cast cement and metal bars with different types of finishing. The harmony of shape and accuracy in sizes give the collection jewelry-like characteristics, they said.
Trade, Industry and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon said at the award ceremony that local industry faces difficult times. "The global financial crisis has had a direct impact on the Israeli market, and if we do not take appropriate action, it might hurt our industrial exports," Simhon said, added that in today's competitive environment "innovative, well-designed products have an added value and an advantage" that can propel companies and improve their standing domestically and abroad.
All that said, Israeli exports have been hurting badly in recent months. Rafael Gozlan, chief economist at IBI Investment House, predicts that they will continue to drop, in part due to the low expectations of purchasing managers in the United States. Pessimism among purchasing managers in a key target market is a negative indicator for Israeli exports, Gozlan points out in his weekly macroeconomic review.