Design On The Fly

For the second year, Enroute, Air Canada’s inflight magazine, is promoting Canadian design with its Palm Enroute Awards in Mobility Design. In 2007 the mag first teamed with Palm, Inc., a mobile products company, to hold the first competition, which invites Canadian designers to submit proposals for innovative designs that combine form, function and mobility to make travel better and smarter.

For the 2008 awards, a stellar team of judges was assembled: multiple Best of Canada Award-winner Matthew Kroeker, a Winnipeg-based industrial designer; Marie-Jose Lacroix, who was responsible for Commerce Design Montreal and for the city’s UNESCO city of design designation in 2006; Janice Keay, marketing director of Palm Canada; Enroute’s art director Reanna Evoy; and William Gibson, the influential science-fiction writer who coined the term ‘cyberspace.’ “

Top prize went to On-Track, a battery-powered scooter that whisks the user through the airport at 10 clicks per hour. The device features a built-in GPS system that will prevent the wayfinding challenged from getting lost on the way to the gate, and a handy hook to tow your luggage. The concept, which involves docking stations placed around the terminal to recharge the battery, was created by Jean-Franois Jacques, founder of Mtore Design and new-to-the-scene Nicolas Bernal.

The judges also chose three honourable mentions, including Lounge in a Luggage, a dream tote for tired travellers. Three colourcoded variations offer different seating options, incorporated into a piece of luggage. The stool version is green (for going soon?); another version, which opens to create a backed bench, is yellow (for going before too long?). These two are designed in a convenient carry-on size. The larger red bag (meaning stop right where you are, this is gonna take awhile?) opens to a lounge chair that you can really stretch out on. Designers laine Fortin and Virginie Lamothe even included storage for a small blanket.

J. Enrique Enriquez’s wacky Urban Camp Hotel concept is a kind of Canadian take on Japanese capsule hotels. The mobile habitat can be quickly arranged for special events or any site where no hotel is yet built, using tents, toilets and other necessities, even Wi-Fi access.

Gibson called Parisian transplant Romain Zolfo’s Luceo cushion, “the emotional equivalent of an old-fashioned hot water bottle.” Adding a touch of warmth to hotel rooms, airport lounges and plane interiors, the chromotherapeutic cushions feature energy-efficient, long-lasting electroluminescent diodes in a silicone sleeve that makes it easy to pack.

All four winners were published in Enroute, which is distributed on all Air Canada flights. Keep an eye on for info on next year’s competition. cI