Potsdam – A first-aid pet, a smart pill box and packaging that shows the durability of food – these are just three of the innovative design ideas that Anne Bansen from Potsdam was able to convince the international jury of the German Design Awards with. The 32-year-old, who is currently pursuing her master’s degree at Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, received the € 15,000 Newcomer Award for her entire portfolio. According to the jury’s statement, her work to date “proves impressively how great the creative potential and talent of the designer is.” “I was surprised by the award, because the five finalists all had such great projects,” says Bansen. “It is a great honor for me that not only one of my projects, but my entire work is rewarded.”
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Born in Berlin, she studied English and history at Humboldt University in Berlin from 2009 to 2014, followed by a bachelor’s degree from the University of Applied Sciences in industrial design from 2015 to 2020, which she completed with honors. Bansen also did an internship at the Helmholtz Center for Materials and Energy in Berlin and at the Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research & Innovation (CERRI), where she still works as a research assistant.
“Emergency Monster” is intended to prepare parents for first aid with infants
Even if it looks like this at first glance: The objects that Bansen has designed are not salable products, but only models. The most unusual of these is probably “Emergency Monster”, or “Nomo” for short: a combination of a blanket and a stuffed animal designed to bring joy to young children and prepare parents for emergencies involving babies. “It is a project that is close to my heart,” says Bansen, who had a daughter during her studies. “It addresses an issue that is rarely in the public debate, yet it is so important.” She has often heard of cases where the parents of a young child have reacted incorrectly and did not know what to do when the child turns to the example swallowed or had another accident.
Bansen exchanged ideas with many families during the design process: “Many had their last first aid course at the driving school and, for example, no longer know exactly how to do a chest compression,” says Bansen. In addition, there is a lot of touch anxiety when it comes to first aid for infants. With “Nomo” parents can playfully recapitulate resuscitation measures with their children, light on the stuffed animal indicates the frequency with which you have to press.
Deformed foils instead of best-before date
Bansen’s project “Tast (e) Food” deals with food waste: Packaging whose surfaces are deformed into geometric structures when the food inside is spoiled – a more accurate indicator than the best-before date. Research has previously been done on how decomposition gases can induce deformation of multilayer films.
Another project addresses the challenges of an aging society: Together with two fellow students, Bansen has designed the intelligent pill box “Pillbuddy”, in which medication plans can be stored and which, using sound and light effects, remind people when to take which medication . It was important to Bansen that the box was easy to open: “My grandmother always had problems opening her pill box,” she says.
During his studies, Bansen was strongly influenced by the “universal design” approach, which seeks to make objects or applications easily accessible and usable for as many people as possible, regardless of their age or origin. “The most important thing is not to exclude anyone from use through design,” she says. Design needs to be balanced and appeal to people emotionally. “What drives me a lot is the responsibility of designers. For me, it is about addressing actual needs through and with design and creating added value, “says Bansen.