2019 Finalists | DesignPhiladelphia

 2019 Winners and Finalists

DesignPhiladelphia’s Best in Design challenge asks regional designers and design companies to submit innovative, high-quality products or design solutions that make life better. This year, our jury had an incredibly difficult decision to make, and we are happy to announce our seven finalists. The finalists will exhibit during DesignPhiladelphia from October 2-13 in the festival’s Hub at Cherry Street Pier.

This year’s jury includes (*Returning Juror)

Kurt Dammermann, Senior Technical Director, Mechanical Engineering, at Bresslergroup
Michelle Histrand, Director of Innovation, Independence Blue Cross
Lisa Roberts*, Design Collector, Promoter, and Connoisseur, My Design Life
Jaime Salm*, Creative Director, Mio Culture
Isaac Salm*, Managing Director, Mio Culture
Alexandra Schmidt-Ullrich*, Professor and Special Projects, Jefferson Industrial Design

When selecting finalists, our jury considered:

  1. Application of global principles of good design
  2. Evidence of applied research and process
  3. Originality and creativity of concept
  4. Construction and organization (craft of submission)
  5. Quality of graphics at submission
  6. Craftsmanship of the final installation at exhibit floor upon finalist selection (TBD in October finalist scorecard)
  7. Ability to be reproduced (i.e. material source, production costs, etc.)

Meet the 2019 Finalists

We would like to once again extend thanks to all applicants and congratulations to all our finalists, listed below in alphabetical order.

CoLab Philadelphia Best in Design Finalist


CoLab Philadelphia: Building Healthier Communities Through Creative Placemaking 

CoLab Philadelphia was developed through a Community Design Collaborative partnership with Impact Services, New Kensington CDC, KieranTimberlake, Ballinger, Cohere, and is anchored at Thomas Jefferson University's Health Design Lab. After an extensive 2 year period of development, pilots, testing, and design, the CoLab PHL team is coming together for the summer of 2019 for the unveiling of the new custom Airstream vehicle and will be working with community partners, Sunday Suppers, Esperanza, and Philabundance, to tackle food access and education in Kensington. Students from Jefferson, Princeton, and other schools will be working this summer on an exhibit based in the trailer around food and social justice in Kensington which will be used this summer and then displayed at Design Philadelphia.

2020 Best in Design Impact Award Design idea of great social value



Hapti Development Best in Design


Hapti: A wearable fitness tracker for runners that provides real-time feedback information via an intuitive haptic language

We are a team of industrial designers having just completed our senior year at Thomas Jefferson University. Our team formed through a mutual love of solving problems by combining new research in psychology with cutting edge technologies and human-centered design. We worked on Hapti as our senior capstone project, and having partnered with industry experts in the field of E-textile manufacturing, we are now looking to take it to the next level. 


Loyalty Leather Hand painted bags


Loyalty Leather: Handcrafted bags to accompany you on your lifelong journey-hand painted classic silhouettes

Loyalty Leather is a Philadelphia base leather craft workshop run by the wife and wife team of Kyra and Cheryl Ellzysmith. We are dedicated to creating quality accessories that are timeless, functional and beautiful. We choose to only work with natural materials of a high quality. Kyra graduated from Jefferson in 2009 with an industrial degree as where Cheryl graduated from Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art and University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Fine Art. They fine that blending their skills in powers them to create elegant and durable leather accessories. They are intrigued by classic styles as well as pushing leather to new creative places. By choosing not to engender the products the customer is free to choose from their line depending on the customers own unique style.

Pippy Sips Best in Design




Pippy Sips: A better way to store and cool breastmilk

Amberlee Venti, Pippy Sips’s CEO and co-founder, is a mental health professional and entrepreneur. The constant of Amberlee’s professional career has been serving people with limited means or mental illness (often both). She’s always been a problem solver and a strong advocate for others and knew that she had to bring her idea to life when she had her lightbulb moment. Amberlee felt compelled to develop Maia so that all breastfeeding and pumping moms could #pumpanywhere. 

Joe Venti, Pippy Sips’s COO and co-founder, is an attorney with the federal judiciary. He oversees the daily operations of Pippy Sips including legal matters, vendor management, technical writing and much more.
Pete Venti is Pippy Sips’s Chief Strategic Officer and brother/brother-in-law of the founders. He has gained significant experience in business development and operations since getting his MBA at Babson. Pete provides his strategic vision and business experience to Pippy Sips.
Pippy Sips worked with Pragmatc Innovations (located in Boston) to develop and design Maia. Pragmatc Innovations helps companies like Pippy Sips to bring a concept/idea to a scalable product.

2020 Best in Design Winner



Rekindling Best in Design


Rekindling: Promoting conversation within families affected by cancer

rekindling was formed while the 3 co-founders -- Danielle, Dhruv, and Rhianna --- were pursuing their master’s in Integrated Product Design at the University of Pennsylvania. This product was created for their 2nd year final project with the goal of helping alleviate the stress from families affected by cancer. The team did a tremendous amount of market and user research to understand the market opportunities and user needs, went through countless brainstorming, user testing, and iterations with end users and multiple stakeholders to flesh out their product idea, and reached out to numerous amounts of cancer support groups, big corporations, and toy manufacturers to figure out how to bring their product into the hands of as many families as possible. After a year of revamping and testing, rekindling is now currently being tested by several cancer support groups throughout the country, and the team is partnering up with hospitals to bring the game to market.

Smart Adaptive Clothing Best In Design



Smart Adaptive Clothing: easy fasten | effortless style | changing lives daily

Millions struggle with the (not so) simple task of getting dressed. We want to change that.
Chances are that we all know someone who struggles with dressing. Introducing Smart Adaptive Clothing - apparel designed to make getting dressed easy, allowing all to keep their dignity and style.

Smart Adaptive Clothing designs apparel for women and men. Our blouses and shirts have unique styles and features; we keep the buttons on the front placket and cuffs for a “traditional” appearance. The brilliant or smart idea is that we use Velcro to fasten and unfasten our clothing for easy on and easy off dressing. This gives independence, build confidence, style while saving time and frustration. Our company is based in Philadelphia, PA which is also where are clothes are made and this is a 100% woman owned company.


Jefferson Park in a Truck Best in Design

Thomas Jefferson University: “Park in a Truck” is a simple, fast and cost-effective community effort that beautifies our neighborhoods, one lot at a time.

Kim Douglas is an Associate Professor and Director of the Landscape Architecture program at Thomas Jefferson University. She was recently awarded the Anton Germinshuzen Stantec Term Chair in Landscape Architecture which allows her to continue research on the effects of contact with nature on children. This research is currently conducted in the Southwest part of Philadelphia in conjunction with Jefferson’s School of Public Health. The efforts are concentrated on designing and implementing green corridors for children to travel and play safely in Philadelphia neighborhoods. 

Dr. Drew Harris is an Assistant Professor at the Thomas Jefferson University College of Population Health (JCPH) and Director of the Scholarly Inquiry-Health Policy track at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College. A researcher, author and presenter in the fast-growing discipline of population health, he led JCPH’s effort to create the nation’s first Masters in Population Health and Population Health Intelligence for practicing health professionals.