Congratulations to the winners of
the Design Challenge 2021.


A design competition based on “authenticity”

The Consorzio for the Protection of Parmigiano Reggiano®, in collaboration with iconic Italian design brands Kartell and Alessi, invited Professional Designers and Design Students to enter their concepts for products that would elevate the experience of “cooking”, “eating”, and “sitting” – all parts of the rituals of making and enjoying a meal. The design community responded with typical passion and enthusiasm, submitting almost 500 entries from cities across the globe.

Panel of Judges

Mauro Porcini
Karim Rashid
Ayse Birsel + Bibi Seck
Richard Eisermann
Pietro Rovatti

An illustrious panel of design thought leaders.

To help us evaluate and ultimately select the winners, we recruited some of the most respected names in the design industry. Our panel of judges included: Karim Rashid, considered one of the most prolific and best known designers on the planet; Mauro Porcini, the always-inspiring Chief Design Officer for PepsiCo; Ayse Birsel and Bibi Seck, the founders and principals of multidisciplinary firm Birsel+Seck; Richard Eisermann, the Head of Design at Philips; and Pietro Rovatti, the Director of Brand at the Consorzio for the Protection of Parmigiano Reggiano.

Below is a link to more info about the judges.

Eighteen Award Winners.

The judges were certainly impressed by the sheer quantity of entries, yet what impressed them most was the level of quality and creativity of the design concepts. The jury was tasked with selecting a Gold, Silver and Bronze Award Winner in each of the three categories, at both the Professional and Student Levels – which added up to 18 Award Winners – from which they ultimately selected the Best of Show Award Winner.

Below is a link to the list of winners and images of the winning projects.

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This video captures a few moments from the Judges Dinner.

The Judges Dinner and the Best of Show decision.

To decide on the Best of Show Award Winner, the judges met for a special dinner prepared by Chef Michele Casadei Massari at his restaurant, Lucciola in NYC – where they discussed the merits of each finalist. Since the purpose of the competition was to elevate the dining experience it seemed fitting to evaluate the designs while savoring a set of courses featuring Parmigiano Reggiano cheese as the star ingredient of the dishes.

Here are some photos from the Awards Party. Enjoy scrolling through them.

The Design Challenge Awards Party.

The Award Party took place on November 18, at the beautiful Kartell showroom in NYC – and was very well attended by many well known members of the design community, as well as executive level representatives of important Italian brands in fields ranging from food to film and fashion. The ceremony included a presentation by Karim Rashid, who emphasized the role of design in imagining a better future for humanity; and remarks by Fabrizio Di Michele, the Consul General of Italy in New York – who expressed how this collaboration represented the very best of Italian ingenuity and innovation.
The ceremony culminated with the presentation of the Best of Show Award to Qing Yan, a young design student from China who is completing her studies at ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, CA. Her project – Cillio – is a set of cheese cutting and tasting instruments inspired by primitive eating tools, such as leaves and twigs. The project was lauded by the judges in terms of how it re-imagined ancient tools as a completely modern and functional set of instruments that transform the cheese tasting experience into a satisfying and enjoyable ritual.

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Here’s a quick video capturing some of the highlights from the Awards Party.

Thank you!

This initiative would not have been possible without the help and support of our sponsors and friends.


Founded by Giulio Castelli in 1949, in the early years Kartell took its first steps to produce the distinctive design that would come to epitomize the ‘Made in Italy’ label. Today, Kartell represents 70 years of history, of family, of culture and design, of innovative products, materials and technologies. Known for its ongoing work with some of the world’s greatest designers, Kartell is committed to pursuing beauty and absolute quality.

Known for its collections designed by the most influential architects and designers in the world, Alessi started in 1929 producing tableware in copper, brass, and nickel silver which was then electroplated. Alessi now offers a wide range of whimsical products for the table, the kitchen and the home. Made in stainless steel, plastic, porcelain and wood, Alessi’s products are known for balancing whimsy and poetry with function and quality – while also reducing environmental impact.

Media Partners

Since 1995 has served a devoted global audience of industrial designers ranging from students through seasoned professionals. Core77 publishes articles, discussion forums, an extensive event calendar, hosts portfolios, job listings, a database of design firms, schools, vendors and services. Core77 provides a gathering point for designers and enthusiasts alike by producing design competitions, lecture series, parties, and exhibits.

Started as a blog back in 2002, Yanko Design has grown into an international publishing company with millions of readers that is committed to covering the best in international product design – with a focus on the new, innovative, unique and undiscovered.

Special Thanks

Founded in New York in 1887, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce (IACC) is a private, not-forprofit, membership organization that represents the interests of companies interested in establishing or growing business and commercial relations between the United States and Italy.