You could argue that, in a sense, no design object is as inspired by nature as a watch. After all, its entire purpose is to measure the rotation of the earth as it orbits the sun, helping mortals plot their days according to the eternal movement of celestial objects.
It’s only fitting, then, that the theme of the upcoming Rado Star Prize U.S. design competition is just that: Design Inspired by Nature. The winner will be revealed in May, during the annual NYC x DESIGN fair. The contest is one of eight Rado Star Prize competitions held in design capitals around the globe, from Milan to Taipei. This is the third year for the U.S. edition, and the 10th for the contest overall.
Whatever the Star Prize gives up in tradition, it makes up for in variety. Past overseas winners include everything from a super-compact, bottom-loading office printer to a low-cost, lightweight portable chamber for sterilizing medical instruments in developing countries. The common thread?
“All the past winners have done something that our juries found to be truly original or inspirational,” says Matthias Breschan, the CEO of Rado. “Solving a design problem that we were aware of, or that we didn’t even know existed until we were presented with the solution.”
For this year’s edition, Breschan expects the entrants to be similarly bold, even if the materials and inspiration are more earthbound.
“Successful design thrives on originality and seeing the same challenge from a different perspective,” he says. “By focusing on nature, we’re asking designers to use a true essence as inspiration and not something that has already been processed. We expect some really innovative ideas.”
The U.S. winner will receive $5,000 in funding, to help turn his or her concept into reality, along with a True Thinline watch from Rado. “Time is one thing that, as humans, we have no influence over,” Breschan says. “Time dictates so much of what we do and, since we can’t change it, the best we can do is work with it. At Rado, our take on that idea has been to make watches that will stand the test of time and that are designed to look good for a lifetime.”