2021 Polestar Design Contest: the winners

Difficult contests are the ones worth winning. Even those at the top of their game will concede that easy victories don’t have the same feeling. Beating a toddler at tennis isn’t the same as winning Wimbledon. You enter a contest to triumph over your competitors and your own preconceived limitations. The winners of the 2021 Polestar Design Contest know this all too well.

This year’s submissions, like last year’s, were a parade of creativity, innovation, and outside-the-box thinking. They exceeded the brief of “progress” with designs that both acknowledged current societal issues and demonstrated ways to solve them.

France’s David Vultaggio won first place in the professional category with Polestar H-UB. A combination of brand experience centre and charging station made from sustainable materials, this design uses a bio-mass roof to produce hydrogen to charge vehicles, from cars to watercraft and everything in between.

Chinese design student Mingwei Liu won the student category with Glad to be Dirty, a small, geometric car equipped with filters that remove harmful pollutants from the air. No longer is it a point of pride to have the cleanest car on the street. Glad to be Dirty’s side panels prominently display the dirt filtered from the air, showing the car’s contribution to the air we all breathe.

And in another repeat of last year, there is an honourable mention. Kristian Talvitie’s submission, entitled KOJA, is the Finnish design student’s way of reducing travel while still bringing people closer to nature. A small, low-resource building with panoramic views, KOJA attaches to tree trunks near the canopy, providing an immersive experience much closer to home than previously possible.

The finalists of the 2021 Polestar Design Contest created some truly fantastic designs. It was a hard-won victory for the winners. Which makes the win that much more meaningful.


Alicia VIkander interviewed on a chair.

Time, luxury, and dollhouses: an interview with Alicia Vikander

Passion, care, and time. Characteristics that can define the creation of a luxury product. Or a work of art. Or a performance. Characteristics that also define the approach of both Polestar and Alicia Vikander. We sat down with the Academy Award-winning actor to discuss minimalism, time, and the lasting impact of interior design magazines.