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LSBU student designer wins prestigious Milan award

18 June 2013

Diana Toth, a product design student at London South Bank University (LSBU), has received an award at Milan Design Week for designing a stormwater drain that will create cleaner urban environments by doubling as a receptacle for cigarette butts.

More than 100 students from four design schools - Milan's Politecnico, Madrid's IED-Spain, the HEAD of Geneva and more than 60 students from LSBU - accepted the challenge to design an area where smokers and non-smokers can share a social dimension that "respects their respective needs while at the same time providing a cleaner and more civilized urban environment."

Diana's aim with her stormwater drain was to find a subtle way to promote environmentally- and socially-acceptable cigarette disposal by providing more possibilities for smokers to bin their cigarette butts.

The cast iron covers of her street drain design,'Drain Away', are powder-coated in a distinctive purple colour with the familiar smoking symbol for easy recognition. The reverse incorporates a series of steep-sided gullies to catch cigarette butts whilst water can run through the integral drain holes. Road sweeper vehicles then produce enough suction power to lift up cigarette butts from the bottom of the gullies.

The winners were selected by an international jury of experts, including designer Aldo Cibic, designer Makio Hasuike, Livia Peraldo, the editor-in-chief of Elle Decor, who has worked in partnership with Francesco Morace, chairman of Future Concept Lab and PierCarlo Alessiani, chairman and managing director of JT International Italia.

The judges commended Diana for the design which is perfectly integrated into the language and logic of the city. They thought her proposal was particularly worthy of note due to its compatibility with existing urban features (drain covers) and cleaning practices (Scarab Sweeper trucks). Diana was awarded third-prize and received 1,000 Euros for her innovation.

JTI are now considering which of the winning students' proposals can be put into production, so 'Drain Away' may be installed in urban streets soon.

For the third consecutive year, the finalists' projects from the JTI Clean City Lab, JTI's international design contest in collaboration with Future Concept Lab and under the patronage of Comune di Milano, were on display at Milan's La Triennale during Milan Design Week. The sixteen prototypes created by the students of the four design schools were housed in an area designed as an abstract city.

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