Westlake resident wins design competition

Michael Laudi's winning design is a textured plate that assists people with only one available hand to cut food. Photo courtesy International Housewares Association

A senior at the Cleveland Institute of Art from Westlake won first prize in the 2017 Student Design Competition sponsored by the International Housewares Association. Michael Laudi landed the top prize and $2,500 for his design of Rose Plate, a dinner plate that assists people with only one available hand to cut food, promoting their independence and enhancing quality of life. Now he goes on to the International Home + Housewares Show to exhibit his design and hopefully find a manufacturer to produce the product, or a job in the industry when he graduates.

At 29 years old, Laudi is embarking on his second career, having gotten his bachelor's degree in finance from The Ohio State University. After working in real estate for a year in Chicago, a friend inspired him to think about becoming an industrial designer and he enrolled at the CIA. Asked about Rose, the disabled woman who inspired his winning design, he said he knew her well, and he wanted to create a product for someone he knew instead of an anonymous persona. Michael says that Rose is now a star because of his project and more people know her and talk to her.

The surface of Laudi's Rose Plate features textured rubber thorns that hold food in place and create cutting channels for a knife. The plate’s form provides an ergonomic grip for easy one-handed carrying and a basin for food to collect near the side wall for easier scooping.

This year's international competition included nearly 300 entrants from 28 universities – including schools in Israel, India, Portugal and Denmark. Winners are chosen by a respected jury, including the founders of two design-driven companies, design managers at consumer products companies, a major retailer, design consultants and two educators. Altogether, judges spend hundreds of volunteer hours in reviewing the submissions, which consist of written materials, sketches, engineering drawings and photos.

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Volume 9, Issue 4, Posted 9:47 AM, 02.21.2017