Hannover, Germany... A transparent-glass radiator impressed the jury at this year's iF International Forum Design GmbH competition. They gave it one of the iF Gold Labels in the Product Design category. The annual iF competition attracted over 1,800 entries from 30 different countries in categories for Products, Packaging, Public, and Transportation. The jury, composed of top international designers, handed out 430 awards including 15 Gold and 25 Silver. Here's a sampling of the top designs:

The SGG Thermovit Elegance radiator designed by Kinon Aachen GmbH, Aachen, Germany, uses just sheets of glass with no complicated plumbing, visible wires, or bulky accessories. Activated via wireless control, the glass radiator reportedly controls radiated heat more uniformly than traditional metal structures. SGG Thermovit glass from Aachen-based Saint Gobain Glass is an electrically heated laminated safety glass that comes in clear, perfectly transparent, and screen-printed.

Key to the Bambus Skis from German-based Bogner Ski, is natural, fast-growing, bamboo. Bamboo competes well with conventional ski materials due to its high strength-to-weight ratio and torsion and pressure load properties. Bamboo serves not only as the ski core, but also as the surface finish. Scratches and dings easily buff away while the natural bamboo grain gives every ski an unsual look.

The frame of the Senerio Carbon 1.1 bike from Storck Bicycle, Bad Camberg, Germany, weighs less than 1 kg, thanks to carbon-fiber-reinforced composite construction. The composite has a high strength-to-weight ratio, which let Storck drop about 220 gm over an aluminum model. The carbon-fiber-based frames come in four heights, with a variety of lower tube diameters. Storck had another winning entry, Ergo Carbon handlebars. They weigh in at just 200 gm and give riders six different grip positions. The handlebars were designed jointly with German compositefiber manufacturer THM-Faserverbundtechnologie GmbH.

Other Gold Label winners include the Audi A8 sedan, an in/outdoor Aero chair designed by Spanish designers Lievore, Altherr, and Molina, and a felt Flokati rug from German-based Illu Stration. Next year, iF 2005 competition winners will be honored at CeBIT 2005 in Hannover, Germany. Deadline for entering next year's competition is September 30, 2004; students can send their work until October 15,

2004. For more information on iF International Forum Design GmbH and the iF 2004 winners, visit www.ifdesign.de.

— Jean Hoffman



The entry from Lieca Camera AG is a triple-zoom digital DLux camera designed by Achim Heine in Berlin. The styling is reminiscent of classic Leicas but gives users menu-driven, user-friendly operation with pushbutton controls. It comes with two lithium-ion batteries, a 64-Mbyte SD storage card, leather carrying case, color-matched case for a second battery or SD memory card, external battery charger/Mayns adaptor, and an extensive software package.


Transparent radiator takes top honors in international design competition.


Induction-heating cookers (IHC-25PB and IHC-25PC) from Toshiba Corp., Tokyo, Japan, are a combination pot/induction cooker that are well suited for cooking outside the kitchen. The pots sit inside the induction heating unit and come as contoured earthenware or angularly shaped cast iron that when removed can be placed on the table for serving. The cooker's control panel is accessed by a push-and-slide device that slips under the cooker, giving it a more compact footprint.

Apple Computer's iSight video camera features an aluminum body and a F/2.8 lens with autofocus and automatic exposure. It gives good quality images even with poor lighting.