Automotive & Transportation

2002 Nissan Altima

Client: Nissan Design America

The 2002 Nissan Altima's design takes the car to a new class with clean lines and clean surface execution. Technical innovations for the Altima include: drive by wire throttle system, electronic brake force distribution, ABS brakes, front-seat side impact supplemental air bag, and front and rear head-curtain air bags.

Contact: Alfonso Albaisa,
Nissan Design America,

Credit: Nissan Design Center, Japan, and Nissan Design America


Re-thinking the home spa soaking bath, Kohler uses a clean architectural language, instead of a plumbing language, to describe its sok Overflowing Bath. This great soaker tub uses an effervescence water recirculation system, rather than pummeling water jets, to soothe the body.

"The architectural simplicity of this soaking tub belies its advanced technological concept. Human comfort and convenience is paramount without looking like a therapeutic device." -Niels Diffrient, FIDSA

Contact: Carter J. Thomas, IDSA,
Kohler Co.,
(920)457-4441 x72844;

Credit: Kohler Co.

KI Einstein Classroom Furniture

Client: KI

An exciting design for the traditionally unexciting educational furniture market, the KI Einstein line improves student performance by providing comfort, proper support and functionality. Chairs and desks are made in four sizes for use from preschoolers to adults. The modular units can be easily moved to enhance learning and are made of super tough materials to last at least 15 years.

"Simple direct classroom furniture that would appear to take any amount of abuse. Its robust construction is cleverly unified with its visual qualities." - Niels Diffrient, FIDSA

Contact: Kent Ritzel, IDSA,
Metaphase Design Group, Inc.,
(314)721-0700 x 147;

Credit: KI and Metaphase Design Group, Inc.


Client: Steelcase Inc.

The construction process is advanced and the overall design shows a very clever construction technique, while the design language displays rugged comfort, ease-of-use and flexibility. The four-legged, stackable side chair from the Cachet line features a balanced action rocker mechanism, allowing individuals to gently recline as the seat flexes. The chair's reclining ability relieves pressure on back discs and sitting bones. Comfort without adjusting a mechanism makes for easy use, stacking and storage.

"This design flies in the face of so much furniture, especially seating, that is based entirely on superficial appearance. Here is an honest design that expresses its function with no visual tricks. Without controls and adjustments it adapts to the user through a very clever mechanical motion." - Niels Diffrient, FIDSA

Contact: Bruce Smith, IDSA,
Steelcase Inc.,

Credit: Pearce Research and Design and Steelcase Inc.

AkroClean Janitor Cart

A unique example where function triumphed over form, the AkroClean Janitor cart is well thought out and its thoughtful features are extremely well organized. It offers building/mall cleaners and janitors a cart with more stability and comfort by putting the trash well in the middle and separating wet and dry areas. The cart's configuration is flexible and the storage area greater, maximizing cleaning output while minimizing cleaning time.

"This mobile work-station for maintenance personnel shows very thoughtful attention to work needs, use of material and compliance with circumstance." - Niels Diffrient, FIDSA

Contact: Randall Calmeise,

Credit: Akro-Mils

Xootr eX3 Electric Scooter

Client: Nova Cruz Products, LLC

The eX3 Electric Scooter solves all sorts of design and engineering problems, while still maintaining a sound, clean scooter look. The lightweight (19.8 lbs), foldable electric scooter targets urban commuters and recreationalists with a slim deck, small housing around the rear mounted motor and smooth handlebar controls.

"While there are other kick scooters, the eX3 Electric Scooters' function with regenerative capability on braking seems ideal, especially for such a light weight and flexible package. The flat deck is a very unique solution for the battery." - Thomas Gale, IDSA

Contact: Gerard A. Furbershaw, IDSA,
Lunar Design,

Credit: Lunar Design, Inc. and Nova Cruz Products, LLC

Segway Human Transporter

Pushing the envelope of design and engineering the Segway Human Transporter (HT) exemplifies amazing scientific achievements. It improves on the most basic form of transportation, walking. Using sophisticated self-balancing technology, the HT allows a user to go farther, more quickly and carry more without separating them from the everyday environment.

"Segway is a remarkable evolution of mechanicals, electronics and design, forming one of the most innovative new transportation products to come along in many years."- Thomas Gale, IDSA

Contact: Scott Waters, IDSA,
Segway LLC,

Credit: Segway LLC

2002 Ford Thunderbird

Ford made a design statement from a styling lineage that is all their own. An excellent example of design heritage, Ford created a contemporary expression of the Thunderbird essence, using a modern rendition of the shape and legacy styling cues of the classic 1955-57 Thunderbird, including making the new T-bird a two-seat convertible roadster with an optional removable top with porthole windows.

"The new Thunderbird represents a striking use of a Ford company theme. A fresh, new and pleasing aesthetic, without the aggressive gesture and overt dynamics usually associated with the sporty automobile segment." - Thomas Gale, IDSA

Contact: Wayne K. Li, IDSA,
Ford Motor Co.,

Credit: Ford Motor Co.

BMW F 650 CS

BMW has created a new niche in the motorcycle market with the F 650 CS. The fuel tank was moved from on top of engine to underneath seat, lowering the center of gravity and making for easier handling. The space vacated by the fuel tank is replaced with a unique multi-purpose storage system, where the helmet can be stowed after the user dismounts. The single sided swing arm with integrated belt drive offers lower maintenance and costs compared to traditional drivetrains. Unmistakable stance, a short chopped back end and bodywork sweeping forward on each side cradles the twin headlights in their goggle housing. Extra features include: ABS, heated grips, GPS and sound system preparation.

Contact: Ingrid Falter, BMW AG,

Credit: BMW AG, Germany

Wahoo Sailing Dinghy

Client: Duffy Electric Boat Co.

The Wahoo Sailing Dinghy creates a safe, simple and fun way for more people to sail using a patented M-hull design that needs no centerboard and greatly improves stability with its manta ray wings. The sail is operated with single control line and a simple rudder kicks up automatically when beaching the dinghy. Four part construction: rudder, sail, mast and hull.

Contact: William Burns, IDSA,
Mangia Onda Co., LLC,

Credit: Mangia Onda Co., LLC and Siewert Design, LLC