Design Lions: Cannes 2021 Decoded
AKQA Stockholm and Superunion London win Grands Prix
21 June 2021
AKQA Stockholm, Sweden, picked up a Grand Prix in the Design Lions category for H&M’s ‘H&M Looop’, the world's first in-store recycling system that turns old garments into new ones.
Looop gives H&M customers the opportunity to watch a container-sized machine recycle their old textiles into something new. The garments are cleaned, shredded into fibres and spun into new yarn, which is then knitted into new fashion items. The system uses no water and no chemicals, so has a significantly lower environmental impact than when producing garments from scratch.
AKQA worked with H&M to bring the process to life for customers. Opposite the machine, eight giant screens display the end-to-end process behind it. Each depicts an individual step as an animated loop, which come to life as customers walk by. ASMR sound enriches each film to heighten the sensory experience. An accompanying website brings this revolutionary recycling system and its story to a global audience.
A second Grand Prix went to Superunion, London / Notpla Limited, London, UK, for Notpla, a revolutionary material which aims to make plastic disappear.
Notpla is an edible, biodegradable material made from plants and seaweed. It can be used directly to replace plastic cups at sporting events, festivals and private parties, as well as sachets for condiments, and can be made into thin films or a coating for cardboard to create a wide range of products.
Superunion London joined Notpla's design engineers and backers to create a name and brand that would leave people in no doubt about its potential value to the world. The animated logo reflects a vessel that can be filled with water and when it is emptied, the exterior disappears, just like its packaging. The tone of voice is simple, pared back, direct and bold. Notpla is built on the idea that its products will change the world.
Havas London took home a Gold in Design for The Black Plaque Project, an initiative that commemorates and celebrates the contributions of black people throughout history. Signs - based on the Blue Plaques we are familiar with - were hung around the Capital to pay tribute to notable black British figures.
Nils Leonard, a founder of Uncommon and one of the members of the Design jury, said the entries this year showed a return to fundamental and powerful design principles.
“There is a thirst for design to rediscover its power this time round. Other award shows, even the ones previously associated with true design, have become more of the same, celebrating the same case studies, leaving Cannes with its scale to celebrate design as it could be. So there felt to me to be an urge toward what was simple and powerful, true design thinking to make change or solve a problem but also a desperation for beautiful and brave branding and design in its own right.”
“The poster category this year felt light perhaps on some of the beauty the design category is often known for which was a shame.”
How To Win A Design Lion
Leonard's advice for marketers looking to achieve design strong enough to compete in this category is to have a big ambition and an original approach.
“Making this list is tough. Winning this category is about being undeniably important.
Use design thinking to make life better. To change opinion. To solve a proper problem.
It’s also about being new in your aesthetic. Remarkable and fresh. The winners here won’t have compromised.”