Computer Equipment

IBM eserver pSeries 680

Angular and rugged, the pSeries 680 multiprocessor server establishes an IBM aesthetic that replaces the individual brands of its divisions. The black powder coated finish exudes power and the copper vent element is a visual semantic for IBM's state-of-the-art copper SOI technology.

Contact: Tristan Merino, IBM,

Designers: IBM Corp.

BM NetVista X40i: Silver, Computer Equipment

IBM's designers decided the best way to reconfigure the PC was to hide it. Actually the full-sized main circuit board is stacked like a pyramid behind the flat screen display, which is all the user, sees at first glance. Enormous positive press coverage pushed sales well over projections and buyers are willing to pay a premium for the unique design.

Contact: David W. Hill, IDSA,
IBM Corp.,

Designers: IBM Corp., Italy, and Richard Sapper, Italy

Spin-Steer TechnologyTM Lawn Tractor

Client: John Deer Worldwide Comercial & Consumer Equipment Division

Zero turn radius mowers seem like a great idea for a lawn tractor until the average homeowner tries to steer one with dual levers. John Deere's designers went to tremendous lengths to allow their customers to drive their new zero turn radius vehicle with a steering wheel. An entirely new drive system to accommodate the steering wheel is hidden behind a smooth, low and nimble looking composite exterior.

"This is a remarkable piece of engineering, and it addresses a fundamental flaw of the typical lawn tractor-poor turning radius. Deere created a new category of lawn tractor by making a tractor that incorporates zero-turn-radius capability while hiding the mysteries of the technology from the operator. This product is going to appeal to lots of lawn tractor users who spend their weekends plotting new cutting patterns to overcome the poor turning performance of their traditional tractors." -Clyde Foles, IDSA, Center for Creative Studies

Contact: James M. Ryan, FIDSA,
Henry Dreyfuss Associates,

Designers: Henry Dreyfuss Associates

SmartTrack Kayak Control System

Client: Cascade Designs Inc.

You can lead a kayaker to water but can you redesign his kayak? The answer is a resounding yes when it comes to this modular system designed to enhance the safety, control and efficiency of sea kayaking while preserving the purist's attachment to his boat. The veteran kayaker can have his kayak and improve it, too as the ergonomic foot pedals and redesigned rudder can easily be installed to upgrade even 20-year-old hulls.

"It takes real guts to aggressively innovate in a conservative sport like kayaking. But by redefining the basic ergonomic scheme used in the foot-operated steering system, the designers have radically improved efficiency and comfort. Coupled with a streamlined rudder and simplified mechanism, the design shows rigorous attention to detail benefiting both the user and the manufacturer. And it's retro-fittable to old boats. Efficiency and elegance are beautiful." -Gavin Ivester, IDSA

Contact: Alan N. Mizuta,
Manatee Design,

Designers: Manatee Design

Safety Night Light

Client: GE Lighting

Safe enough for a child's room and sleek enough for a parent's contemporary decor, this night light is part of a proprietary line designed to revitalize GE HomeElectric Products' brand presence and broaden its market share. The four BS plastic molded parts snap together without fasteners, which lowers manufacturing costs and increases potential profit margins.

"This is a perfect IDEA award: beautiful form in harmony with practical function. Its striking aesthetics grab the eye, while the smooth form grabs the wall, covering the electrical outlet and causing little obstruction to passersby. It is at once utilitarian and ornamental." Tucker Viemeister, FIDSA

Contact: Gregory De Swarte, IDSA,
513.241.4091 x3124;

Designers: LPK, GE Lighting and Innovata

psa[play 120

By removing the screen, Nike was able to shrink the size of this digital audio player - the first created just for sport. The smooth, soft, edgeless design that rests comfortably in the palm can be operated by a thumb with no need to see any controls. Athletes can stop, play, fast-forward and reverse through tactile elements and obtain pure musical motivation without slowing down for techie, seldom-used features.

"Nike did a great job of minimizing the features and the interface to only what you need to enjoy music on the go. The aesthetics are very appealing and the accessories make it extremely usable products for athletes. The psa[play 120 is more an extension of your music collection than an extension of your computer." -Carl Price, IDSA, Bose Corp.

Contact: Phil Frank,
Nike, Inc.,

Designers: Nike, Inc.

BODUM® Santos

In a perfect world all coffee would taste like it's been vacuum brewed and all vacuum brewed coffee would be made in amorphous and organic looking vessels like the BODUM® Santos. The Santos shortens the brewing cycle of stovetop versions with its electric heating element and creates a clean coffee with almost no sediment. There's no need for filters and the polycarbonate plastic is safer than glass.

"The Santos is set apart by its distinctive visual impact… the honest, elegant form gives you permission to believe that it works. A masterful and appropriate use of plastic-not easily accomplished!" -Jill Shurtleff, IDSA, The Gillette Company

Contact: Sean Pettenhofer,
BODUM Design Group,

Designers: BODUM® AG/BODUM Design Group, Switerland

M-Systems Flash Key

Client: M-Systems, Israel

M-Systems was the world leader in flash memory storage but had yet to tap into the consumer market. In less than three months, ZIBA Design identified and developed a personal, portable, platform-independent storage device that acts like an add-on computer when plugged into any USB socket. It allows people to share hours of music, medical data, financial information or any other kind of file without cords, cables, batteries, adapters, disks or drives.

"This elegant and deceptively powerful product bridges a cumbersome technology gap in the file-sharing/transfer arena. The "plug & play" technology introduces a new level of freedom to an increasingly transient society and solves a technology problem that many may not yet know they have. Every detail of this small package is beautifully resolved, from the portability clue of the pocket clip to the puzzle-piece lock." -Merry Riehm, IDSA, ProductLogic

Contact: Michael Francis,
ZIBA Design, Inc.,

Designers: ZIBA Design, Inc.

Microsoft IntelliMouse Optical

Client: Microsoft Corp.

Microsoft added to its Intellimouse without complicating its simplicity. Users can move intuitively up, down or sideways with the scroll wheel on top of the mouse and backward and forward through Web pages with the buttons on the sides. The optical sensor that replaces the rubber ball makes mouse cleaning obsolete.

"The simple, straightforward form works well and the function buttons don't interfere with basic mouse movement-that's not true of many mice. It took a lot of thought to reduce this product to the simplicity of this final production version." -Clyde Foles, IDSA, Center for Creative Studies

Contact: Carl Ledbetter, IDSA,
Microsoft Corp.,

Designers:Microsoft Corp. and Surface Strategy


Family members can carry the Internet from room to room with this wireless portable tablet, complete with 8.4" touchscreen color display, a nearly full-size keyboard and an 8- hour battery life. Anyone can grab the handle and bring it with them into the bedroom or kitchen where they can stick their finger in a ring and slide out the keyboard to e-mail, surf the Web or perform other online functions.

"This is a technologically sophisticated wireless web browser/emailer, but its real charm lies in its clever lack of rocket science. Pull on the little round finger ring to slide out the keyboard, and the handle disappears into the product- they're one simple piece that shuttles through the unit. The display hinges up so you can truly take advantage of its wireless connection, comfortably using it on the kitchen counter, the dining room table, or the couch. Simple, clever, and beautiful." -Gavin Ivester, IDSA

Contact: Dan Harden, IDSA,
Whipsaw, Inc.,