press release -
International Housewares Association

Contact: Deborah A.Teschke
Senior Manager, Public Relations & Communications
Email Debbie Teschke

Innovative Product Concepts Solve Social Problems, Tie into Home, Health and hydration Trends in 2018 IHA Student Design Competition

Winners to Be Showcased at 2018 International Home + Housewares Show, March 10-13, Chicagos

ROSEMONT, Ill. (Feb 7, 2018) –Health, safety and hydration were key themes of winning entries in the 2018 International Housewares Association’s 25th annual Student Design Competition.

The Student Design Competition’s challenge to students is to redesign a current housewares product to meet the needs of the future or to create a concept for a new product. Winning projects are selected for their innovation, understanding of production and marketing principles, and quality of entry materials.

Arizona State University graduate Lauren Emmerson from Bend, Ore., and senior Anastasia Miller from Boston shared a first place prize for their Domi Care At Home Pap Test, while Carleton University senior Ben Kaufmann from Ottawa, Canada, also earned first place for his BIO Water Distiller.

Domi Care reduces the anxiety surrounding the pap smear test and gives women confidence and control over their health without interfering with their work/social life. Women can perform the test in the comfort of their own home, and then access the results and dialogue with their doctors through the Domi Care app. Bio Water Distiller removes toxins, bacteria and heavy metals from drinking water, and was designed for the Canadian market where more than160 remote communities must have potable water delivered because of the contaminated water supply. The distillation system utilizes a standard five-gallon water jug and adapts to a gas and electric stove, hot plate, wood stove, etc., allowing the user to choose the lowest-cost energy source.

First place winners will receive a $2,500 cash prize and an all-expense paid trip to Chicago for the 2018 International Home + Housewares Show, March 10-13. Their winning product concepts may be seen by 60,000 attendees and 2,200 exhibiting companies from more than 145 countries. Joining Emmerson, Miller and Kaufmann at the Show will be two second- and two third-place winners who will share $5,500 in prize money. The five winning schools will receive grants totaling $3,000.

Altogether, there were 217 entries from 29 schools–including universities in Canada, India and Israel.
Vicki Matranga, IHA’s design programs coordinator and manager of the Student Design Competition, said “IHA’s program has become known as the gold standard for college-level competitions. Many U.S. professors assign the program annually to industrial design students because it is a real-world exercise and every entry receives feedback from two industry professionals. Students must identify user needs and opportunity spaces in the marketplace, research competitive available products, test models with users, and consider production issues.”


Second and Third Place Winners

Second-place awards of $1,750 each went to: Andrew Ferrier, a Carleton University senior from Ottawa, Canada, for his Botany Child-Proof Cannabis Container, and to Chicago native Caleb Blankenbaker, a University of Illinois at Chicago junior, for his Arome Coffee Bean Roaster.

Botany provides a holistic approach to marijuana storage, with a focus on child safety, both edible/concentrate and bud forms of marijuana, two-way humidity control and portability. The contemporary form fits into a home environment without attracting attention. Arome, an electric air roaster that functions like an air popcorn popper, makes roasting coffee beans at home as easy as brewing the coffee, while also being safer and more energy efficient than other roasters. The shape allows the user to comfortably pick it up and pour the roasted beans into a grinder or jar once they are roasted to satisfaction. With included Bluetooth wireless connectivity, the user has complete control over the roast curve, allowing for precise control over the heat throughout the process.

Third-place awards of $1,000 each went to: Cody Moore, a Savannah College of Art & Design graduate from Salisbury, Md., for Sift Filtration Systems, and to Brandon Rodriguez, a Cleveland Institute of Art senior from Cleveland, for Novus Home Brewing Beer System.

Sift uses donatable clay molds and locally sourced materials to create filters that can purify water in villages across the developing world. The filter is placed in a bucket of water, from a lake or other water source, and is connected to a hose which delivers a steady flow of filtered water into the collection vessel. Water from a hose could also be run through the filter into a bucket. Novus is a pod-based system of products that eliminates any intimidating and confusing aspects of the home brewing process. It allows the novice brewer to create fresh craft beer with precision, customization and ease as part of a community of friends and other brewers.


Seven Honorable Mentions Awarded

In addition, students receiving an honorable mention and a $250 cash award include:

  • Steve Jean Aviton, Cleveland Institute of Art, Sula Food Defroster
  • Brandon Rodriguez, Cleveland Institute of Art, senior, Orbis Sustainable Air Circulator/Purifier
  • Logan Gage, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Twist Jar Opener
  • Shahd Zubier, Rochester Institute of Technology, graduate, Arc Children’s Dinnerware
  • Loren Chen, University of Notre Dame, junior, Yuan Cookware
  • Lindsey Meyers, University of Notre Dame, junior, Stride Strep Throat Tester
  • Jackson Howard, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, PLUNJ Vegetable Peeler


Judges Laud Contest, Quality of Program

This year’s winners were chosen by a respected jury of 14, including an IHA Board member and company president, design managers at consumer products companies, a major retailer, design consultants, two former winners and three educators. Altogether, judges spend hundreds of volunteer hours reviewing the submissions, which consist of written materials, sketches, engineering drawings and photos.

“As a judge, I had the opportunity to see a glimpse into the future of housewares design, and at the same time, to participate in its creation. It felt like a true collaboration with students,” said Drew Carlson, senior industrial designer, Hamilton Beach Brands, Glen Allen, Va.

In addition to Carlson, the jury included: Alaina Appelbaum, industrial designer, Smart Design, New York; Jennifer Astwood, IDSA, associate professor of industrial design, University of Wisconsin – Stout, Menomonie, Wis.; Andreas Bell, president, TEAMS Design USA, Chicago; Daniel Blake, global designer, team sports, Wilson Sporting Goods Co., Chicago; Evan Cincotta, industrial designer, Casabella Holdings LLC, Congers, N.Y.; Joe Fiore, III, senior technical manager, Walmart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Ark.; Carter Gerard, industrial designer/UX, Beyond Design, Chicago; Chris Gidwell, IDSA, industrial design director, Midea/Eureka, Medford, Mass.; Michael Kahwaji, IDSA, senior manager, industrial design, global consumer design, Whirlpool Corporation, Benton Harbor, Mich.; former winner Jennifer Nemec, principal, Ideation Studio Inc., Chicago; TJ O’Keefe, clinical assistant professor of industrial design, University of Illinois at Chicago; Scott Shim, IDSA, professor of industrial design, department of art, art history & design, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Ind.; and Philip Trudeau, president, Trudeau Corporation, Boucherville, Quebec, Canada.

Cincotta, who was a third place winner in 2015 as a junior at the Rochester Institute of Technology and met his future employer at the Show, said “The IHA Student Design Award was an invaluable experience. As a third-year industrial designer, it opened my eyes to the housewares industry. This award was a big part of proving to myself that product design was the right choice for my future. Giving an elevator pitch a thousand times certainly helped me practice a necessary skill for our industry. Each winner walked away from Chicago with a hundred business cards and countless leads, one of which led to an internship the following summer and a job offer months before graduation day.”


25 Years of Exceptional Student Design

This is the 25th year that winning design students have been honored at the International Home + Housewares Show, expanding awareness of careers in industrial design among students and highlighting the impact of design on the $355.4 billion global housewares industry. Since the competition began in 1993, more than 5,000 college students have entered, and each has come away with an educational experience that the design profession recognizes as unique.


Editor’s Note: Digital images of the winning designs are available upon request. Please call Debbie Teschke at 847-692-0110 or email for copies.

The International Housewares Association is the 80-year-old voice of the housewares industry, which accounted for (US)$355.4 billion at retail worldwide in 2016 ($87.1 billion at retail in the U.S.). The not-for-profit, full-service association sponsors the world's premier exposition of products for the home, the International Home + Housewares Show, and offers its 1,700 member companies a wide range of services, including industry and government advocacy, export assistance, State-of-the-Industry reports, point-of-sale and consumer panel data through Housewares MarketWatch, executive management peer groups, a unique Web-based community at and group buying discounts on business solutions services.