Tag Archives: design challenge

Office Storage Reimagined: The Design Challenge Timeline

We are releasing a series of posts to further detail the components of the Office Storage Reimagined design challenge. Check out our last post here.

This design challenge will span from January 24th to March 20th (and far beyond as we dive into product development). The challenge will be straightforward and transparent, mimicking our process and values. Here’s a more detailed description of what will happen during each stage of the challenge:

January 24th – February 21st: During this period, the challenge will be open for submissions from any designer! As long as you meet the submission requirements, you will qualify for the challenge. You can submit as many designs as you like, as long as they are fleshed out, thoughtful concepts. However, all submissions must be in by midnight on February 21st.

February 21st – February 24th: We will be compiling the submissions, following up on any incomplete designs, and getting the submissions ready for community voting.

February 24th – February 28th: Consistent with our belief that the community should have a say in the process, we will open all accepted submissions to the public to score and choose their favorite designs. The most popular submission from this pick will automatically qualify as one of the finalists.

February 28th – March 3rd: Our judges will review all the submissions and choose the remaining finalists. They will also perform formal critiques of the finalists to help the designers improve and further refine their design. This portion of the challenge is very similar to our own Refinement. We will publicly announce the finalists on March 3rd.

March 3rd – March 14th: The finalists will have several days to account for the judges’ critiques and work on further honing their submissions. During this period, we will release blog posts highlighting each of the finalists and their respective designs.

March 14th – March 20th: During the last week, the judges will perform their final review. Each finalist will be evaluated on their latest submission and after the judges convene, the winner will be announced.

March 20th +: After we announce the winning design, we will move forward with the designer and our chosen manufacturer to bring the design to life. While this portion of the process will be out of the public spotlight, you will still get regular updates on the product’s development!

As always, if you have questions or thoughts about this or future challenges, all you have to do is send us an email at design-challenge@unbrandeddesigns.com!

The next post will provide more detail on the Evaluation Criteria.

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New Partnership with IIDA for RED Awards

We are very excited to announce that Unbranded Designs will be partnering with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Illinois Chapter for their second annual RED Awards, Recognizing Exemplary Design! IIDA is an international organization for Interior Designers that has chapter in 58 countries, offering numerous benefits to its members, including but surely not limited to networking events, portfolio workshops, and exclusive opportunities for professional development. More details and information about IIDA as a whole can be found on their infographic.


The RED Awards is open only to Illinois professionals and students and is organized into 15 categories, including the new Furniture Design category in partnership with Unbranded Designs.


“The submitted designs will be voted upon by our peers, colleagues, friends, and the general public during the month of March, 2014. Unbranded Designs will promote the top three finalists. The first place winner will be recognized at the RED Awards ceremony and Unbranded Designs will explore the opportunity of manufacturing and selling the winning design through their company.”  – IIDA Illinois

For more information about the RED Awards, visit their website here!

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Upcoming Announcement

Hey guys, we have some very exciting news that we really want to announce ASAP but unfortunately we are are not allowed to just quite yet. On the other hand, we can tell you that it will definitely raise the bar of the designs submitted to Unbranded and that our community’s awareness will skyrocket. We should be able to give you more details in the upcoming week so be on the lookout!

Hope you all have a good weekend!


Unbranded Designs Team

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Motorola Mobility’s Design Challenge Winner: Adam Owens

After almost a month after announcing the challenge, we are extremely excited to announce that the winner of Motorola Mobility’s Reception Desk Design Challenge is Adam Owens! Born and raised in Austin, TX, Owens was constantly in the shadow of construction sites with his dad, being exposed to industrial manufacturing processes (the most prominent being concrete processing). As a result of his upbringing, although Owens graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics, he ultimately became a freelance artist/designer after spending two semesters in architecture school.

For his submission piece, Owens created a desk that we detailed in an earlier post as having minimalist and Wabi-Sabi qualities. The judges of the competition seemed to agree. Steve Monaco, the Real Estate Operations Manager of Motorola Mobility and judge of the Design Challenge (who also received a BA and Master’s Degree in Architecture), states that Owens’ desk “gives tribute to our manufacturing approach because the different components of the desk are made off-site, shipped to the reception area and assembled in place.” Furthermore, they too were very impressed in the efficiency of how he utilized the wooden frame to create the concrete legs/cantilevers as the main surface for the desk. Monaco responds, saying, “We love the idea that the concrete is poured and the wood formwork is reused as the desk surface . . . innovative and sustainable – nothing was wasted or over-designed.”

Owens’ desk will be the front desk at Motorola Mobility’s division in Fort Worth, TX where they will be assembling their new flagship phone, the Moto X. Congratulations, Adam!

Adam 1

Adam 2

I would also like to give recognition to our three other finalists, Christina Fehan, Javier Velez, and Zac Lindemann, for the their beautiful designs as well. Please check all of them out!

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Motorola Mobility’s Design Challenge Finalist: Javier Velez

The motivation for a product can come from an infinite amount of sources – a personal experience, a manufacturing process, a movie, a bird’s nest, etc. For Javier Velez, inspiration comes from the method and exploration of using one design discipline to inspire a project in another design field. He mentions, “I became focused on… using photography skills on architectural renderings and using architecture elements in furniture design.” Velez first found his passion for design while in high school, leading him to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture. He is now a student in California, pursuing his Master’s Degree.

Velez’s submission piece, Louvre, is a wonderful example of how a product’s inception can originate from the most unlikely of places. As stated before, Velez indulges in exploring different design principles and jumbling them up, looking for a way to create something beautiful from something so different. For the Louvre, he states that his inspiration was, as you may have already guessed, building louvers: “Louvers are designed to, most obviously, give shade and protect the interior of a building. A reception desk has the similar intent. It serves to be the ‘face’ of a building…” His design consists of multiple layers of plywood that are held static by the insertion of four steel rods all having 1in. diameters. Unlike any of the other designs, Velez also includes a unique seating structure as a part of the overall piece. Essentially, the seat is attached to the most bottom layer of plywood so that it can only move horizontally on one axis.





Tell Javier what you love about his design!

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Motorola Mobility’s Design Challenge Finalist: Adam Owens

The material of a product, whether it is wood, aluminum, or regular ABS plastic, is often the characteristic that gives it its ‘spirit’ or essence. Deceiving materials can ruin the experience and perception of a product almost instantaneously and ruin the brand forever for an individual. Adam Owens, one of the four finalists in Motorola Mobility’s Design Competition, understands this concept of material integrity beyond many individuals in the industry. Born and raised in Austin, TX, Owens was constantly in the shadow of construction sites with his dad, being exposed to industrial manufacturing processes (the most prominent being concrete processing). As a result of his upbringing, although Owens graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics, he ultimately became a freelance artist/designer after spending two semesters in architecture school.

To him, the material and even the building processes to create the final product is a direct reflection of the final outcome, which is no surprise after knowing his childhood was deeply connected to the manufacturing world. When talking about the materials he chose, Owens says, “the idea is to showcase the qualities of wood and concrete and the dialogue between the two.” He then goes on to explain how when forming concrete, wood is used as the frame to pour the concrete into and then the wood is simply forgotten. Yet, Owens’ design is more economical and efficient. Instead of discarding the wooden frame, he instead uses it as the main surface of the desk.

All in all, Owens’ design reflects a minimalist and wabi-sabi feel. And although the structure is completely asymmetric, it’s still so fully balanced and welcoming. It would be a perfect fit for Google’s new Motorola office in Fort Worth, TX.

Owens’ desk is made from concrete and Mesquite wood.

“Mesquite is a native tree to Texas and can be locally sourced from the Texas Hill Country. The species has adapted to harsher climates and is robust to environmental changes. This can be seen in the non-linear grain patterns and contributes to its strength as well as its tendency to remain flat and not warp. The reddish brown color provides a beautiful contrast to the concrete blocks.”  – Owens

Adam 1

Adam 2

What do you think of Adam Owens’ design? Tell us what you think!

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Motorola Mobility’s Design Challenge Finalist: Christina Fehan

It is every designer’s dream for one of their pieces to set a trend in the industry or even simply to stand out and be recognized among the countless new products created every year. Motorola offered individuals in the product design industry a chance to achieve this goal or at least to tread one step closer. Christina Fehan is a 27 year old practicing industrial designer, residing in Chicago, IL. Currently working at Slate Design – a design firm specializing in modern home furniture and appliances – she has only been in the home goods industry for three months. Yet, her submission piece for the new front desk at Google’s Motorola office in Fort Worth, TX serves as a testament of her upcoming success and talent.

Fehan’s Airflow Desk, screams simplicity and elegance at their finest. As for the form of her piece, she states, “I pulled inspiration from the shape created by airflow around a plane wing, in similarity to the flow of visitors.” She also wanted to capture the essence of the Octavio Frias de Oliveira Bridge in Sao Paulo, Brazil through her use of metal rods as an illusion to support the entire structure. In this case, there is no call to the design proverb ‘form vs. function,’ but, rather, to its more esoteric twin – ‘form is function.’ Though the play on material is limited almost entirely to stainless steel with a hint of dark cherry wood giving off vibes of an industrial modern feel, Fehan’s Airflow Desk still remains sophisticated, organic, and suave.

The frame is structured out of 1in. thick stainless steel and the four rows of steel rods have 1/4 in. diameters. The actual desk for the receptionist is dark cherry wood. The overall dimensions are 72in. x 40in. x 32in.

bridge airflow airflow2

What do you think of Christina’s submission? Let us know in the comments!

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Announcing the finalists of the Reception Desk Design Challenge!

2 weeks ago we announced an awesome opportunity for our designers to create a unique reception desk to go into the newest facility of a major, unnamed tech giant. That unnamed tech giant chose to remain anonymous because they wanted to find a design with a unique story that came from a designer just as unique. This proved to be a big challenge because our designers knew nothing about the client’s aesthetic, brand, or culture. To make things more difficult, we gave designers no hints regarding how the space was designed. This was not your normal design brief challenge!

We can now proudly announce that the client is Motorola Mobility, a Google Company. The winner’s reception desk will be at the entrance of the only facility of any company in the entire United States that assembles smartphones; where they assemble the new Moto X.

29 unique designs were submitted by designers from 12 countries and they were reviewed by a small group of Motorola Mobility and Unbranded Designs team members who carefully evaluated the design and, more importantly, the story. The judges named these 4 designers Finalists:

  1. Christina Fehan 
  2. Zac Lindemann 
  3. Adam Owens 
  4. Javier Velez 

Each designer is currently refining their design using feedback from the judging team. They have just a few short days to submit their refined designs and stories before the winner is selected. We’ll share all of the Finalists’ submissions with you before the winner is announced at the end of next week!

The winner will receive a $1,000, a featured post on this blog, and personal branding in the facility that will house their fabricated design. Each finalist will also receive a $100 cash prize as well their own personal blog posts.

Thank you to all who participated in this challenge or helped spread the word. Keep a lookout as we’ll aim to bring more unique opportunities like this to the community in the future!

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