One inclusive design

Recent NUS Industrial Design graduate Loren Lim has been lauded as the National Winner in the James Dyson Award, an international design competition which celebrates the work of university students in industrial design, engineering or product design. Loren will compete with winners and entries from countries worldwide for a spot in the International Top 20 list.

Participants in the James Dyson Award were required to submit a product that “solves a problem”. Loren’s winning entry, Oneware, is an add-on tool for the sink specially devised for people with only a single functioning arm to carry out various kitchen processes more effectively. Oneware consists of a main frame and two modular units — a chopping board to facilitate cutting and a silicone net for more efficient dishwashing.

The inspiration for the creation came from watching his uncle, a stroke victim, face many challenges during meal preparation. “That is when I felt I could design products that could assist him. Oneware endeavours to bring cooking to everyone with its elegant and versatile designs,” he said.

To develop a product that would better address the community’s challenges, Loren conducted in-depth research for his final-year thesis with the help of organisations such as the Disabled People’s Association. He interviewed amputees and people born with one arm, as well as those suffering from stroke and temporary hand injuries, to get a good understanding of their needs. He also observed real users at work in the kitchen, before undertaking prototyping and several rounds of testing and evaluation, prior to submitting his entry.

Speaking of the win, Loren said that while it feels great to be recognised for his effort, he is happier that the award has helped raise awareness of the importance of inclusive design. “There is still plenty of room for the design community in Singapore to look to the needs of the disadvantaged,” he said.

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Loren will represent Singapore in the next stage of the James Dyson Award design competition

Loren is no stranger to design competitions, having clinched the top prize in the 2016 IKEA Singapore Young Designer Award with his Oneware series. Earlier this year, Loren’s work was also showcased in the NUS Division of Industrial Design Graduation Show. The current Research Assistant at NUS Industrial Design had these encouraging words for aspiring young designers: “Be passionate about what you do and believe in yourself!”

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