Project Aya: Pursuit of the 2015 Braun Prize / by Alex Schreer

The industrial design world is well aware of the current running of the 2015 Braun Prize, an international competition started by the Braun Company. At is conclusion April 30th of this year, a series of professional judges will come to a census and choose two winners in both a professional and student category. This years prompt was brief "The Extra in the Ordinary", and left designers with an open platform to start ideating a product or system of products that embody their interpretation whats extraordinary.  

Left: http://www.braun.com/global/world-of-braun/braun-prize.html

I am pleased to announce my running in this competition with fellow class mate Reid Price, we will be spending the next two months working on developing our concept of "the extra in the ordinary". 

Project Aya is the result in depth conversation on what is ordinary in our own lives, but severely lacking in the lives of others. The most pressing of which was a sever lack of housing around the world's poverty belt. Being that we are in the midst of our power tool redesign, Reid and I saw it only fitting to design our power tools to enable home construction in regions of great poverty and more importantly a lack of electricity. 

These regions pose many challenges to design, and through further research and interviews we gained insight into them. One re-occurring trend was the lack of manufacturing and materials in the region not only for construction of the home, but also for the tools themselves, therefore we would need to devise a solution for this. We have left the realm of product design and now are looking towards designing a system. Reid and I needed to find a tool that was already present in the region, something that was proven to work in the environments we would be designing for. surprisingly the answer came in an uncommon package. 

At this point you must be wondering what does an assault rifle have to do with providing housing for the people of Africa? Well statistical data proves that the AK-47 is a common in the region as well as responsible massive amounts of fatalities every year. So I began to think what If we took the AK-47's and used their components and raw materials to make our power tools. We would be trying to take something that kills, and change it into something that can help create life. There is still a lot of research and design to be conducted before we have a solid concept, but the consensus is we are heading in the right direction. 

We will be updating this blog regularly with our process, as our next venture is to build a structure using our power tools to figure out where there are opportunities to improve them. 

- Alex