Help your clothes take cover while you shower

Top winner Duane Lye with Obvi8, a line of hooks with a silicone cover that can be pulled over clothes to keep them dry when one showers in a small bathroom.
Top winner Duane Lye with Obvi8, a line of hooks with a silicone cover that can be pulled over clothes to keep them dry when one showers in a small bathroom.PHOTO: IKEA SINGAPORE

Young designer Duane Lye, 27, has thought of a simple solution to keep clothes dry in the small spaces of a bathroom.

His design, Obvi8, is a line of hooks with a removable silicone cover that can be pulled over clothes to keep them dry in cramped shower spaces.

Mr Lye, who will graduate from Nanyang Technological University's School of Art, Design and Media later this year, says he kept the product minimalist in appearance as he wanted it to fit discreetly in all bathrooms.

For this idea, he won the first prize in the Ikea Singapore's Young Designer Award 2015 competition, which focused on bath and bedroom designs this year and was opened to students from tertiary institutions.

He has a knack for problem-solving.

In 2013, he was awarded the Red Dot design award for the product design "Oi" - a plate which allows people with the use of only one hand to eat independently.

Like last year's winner Auradee Sae-Lin, he intends to take up the optional internship with Ikea that has been offered as part of his prize, which also includes $1,500 and a paid trip to Sweden.

Ms Sae-Lin, who graduated from Raffles Design Institute, went on from her internship to a full-time job with the furniture chain.

One of the judges, Swedish designer David Wahl, 29, says he has experienced the difficulties of living in a small flat, with a bathroom that was only a square metre in size. As such, he was deeply impressed with Mr Lye's design.

Mr Wahl, an Ikea product designer who is based in China, has been conducting regular home visits in Shanghai, Chengdu and Shenzhen to better understand the challenges Asian families face in their homes.

He says greater investment needs to be made into finding smart solutions for an increasingly space-conscious society.

Another key consideration during the judging was how well the students adhered to this year's design theme, Good Morning, Great Nights.

After submitting a draft, the 20 finalists were given $500 to create prototypes of products. They were asked to pay special attention to the requirements of Singapore homes.

Ikea marketing manager Caroline Ng says the response to this year's design brief has seen a sharp increase from last year's inaugural competition.

After expanding the list of participating schools from three tertiary institutions to 12, Ikea received more than 100 submissions, a 30 per cent increase from last year.

The designs by the finalists were displayed at an exhibition at the National Design Centre last month. The prototypes were also exhibited at Temasek Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

For some participants, the opportunity to engage members of the public was more valuable than the prospect of winning the top prize.

Runner-up Lim Li Xue, 22, says: "I was not expecting to win anything. The fact that I got to talk to people and that some of them appreciated the design was already very fulfilling for me."

Her design is a mirror subtly combined with a clock. The hour and minute hands are represented by soft LED lights on the border of the mirror and programmed with electronics platform, Arduino.

The idea is to make the process of telling the time more natural and less stressful - a pertinent provision for overworked Singaporeans.