Finalists Named for Gift For Life/NYIGF Design Competition



WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.—Finalists have been selected in the first Gift For Life / New York International Gift Fair Product Design Competition, with nine prototypes vying for “Peoples’ Choice” and “Designer Distinction” Awards at the Gift Fair, Aug. 14-19.

Themed “Make Change,” the inaugural design competition required established and emerging designers to reinvent the iconic piggy bank with unique and innovative elements. While banks could be dramatically re-imagined, they had to retain their functional aspect and be a repository for money in order to be considered.

“From card stock to gold plate, the materials were as diverse as the concepts and the designers behind them,” said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president. “The designers’ personal interpretations of the piggy bank were refreshingly unique and different.”

The finalists are:

The Coffee Joe Banks series by Japanese product designer Akira Yoshimura is a collection of flat, precision-cut paper cards meticulously engineered to transform into whimsical three-dimensional change collectors.

The Le Cochon Tote from the Bradley Stephens design firm in New York is a faux leather handbag  with a tiny zipper on top just wide enough to insert dollar bills. A mother-of-pearl encrusted pocket knife is integrated into the design as a special accessory for “breaking the bank.”

The Red Ribbon for Aids sock bank was handmade by Brenda Elvey,  of Missoula, Mont. This bank is made with stretch fabric to hold the change, topped by a face and ribbon shaped of polymer clay and covered with resin.

The cast brass Glyptodon Community Bank by Graham Parker Ansell of Alubuquerque, N.M., was designed to collect funds for local charities. While on public display for one month following the earthquake in Haiti, nearly $500 was collected and donated towards relief efforts. Theft-proof and weatherproof, the bank contains a bell which dings when a donation is made.

The Jenny Island Canada Bank, also by Graham Parker Ansell, is a 10-inch tall mahogany box construction embellished by brass inlay images of Jenny Island and the pelicans which fly around the island in the summer. Coins are placed in the bird’s eye image of Jenny Island, then ring three hidden chimes before collecting in the coin reservoir.

The Multi-functional Money Box by May Luk of Brooklyn, N.Y., is a piggy bank, vase, bookend and wall display unit all in one. Handmade from high fire stoneware and felt embellishment, it also contains a glass bud vase insert.

With their Rags to Riches concept, designers Susan Firestone and Karen Bluestein have used Siw Thai Silk scraps wrapped around a ceramic piggy bank to represent those whose lives fray and unravel as they live with HIV and AIDS.

New York-based artist Eric Bonnin expresses lighthearted humor with his Bunny Bank, handmade in black stoneware and glazed in shiny black with a bronze sheen, it’s a functional sculpture which will need to be broken or shaken to reveal its contents.

Bank in the Form of a Pig is part of the “Reality” series by award winning interior and industrial designer Harry Allen. “Reality” is cast from a piglet which died of natural causes. The 10-inch high and 18-inch long bank is meant to stir emotional conflict.

Finalists’ designs will be displayed in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center’s Crystal Palace lobby during the summer 2010 NYIGF, and two awards – a “Peoples’ Choice Award” based on voting by market participants, and a “Designer Distinction Award” as determined by a panel of professional designers  will be presented. Winners of both Awards will receive one complimentary exhibition space (valued at $3,700) for the winter 2011 NYIGF.

Proceeds from the competition will benefit the charitable efforts of Gift For Life and its sole beneficiary, DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the U.S.