Material Driven Innovation Award 2022

Making Well-Being: Materials for Better Human Living

Results TUE, JAN 25, 2022 - MON, MAR 07, 2022

Material Driven Innovation Award 2022

[information] The evaluation period has been extended to April Middle.

[information] The deadline for application has been extended to Mon, March 7, 12:00(Japan time noon).
We have already received many applications, but due to popular demand, we are extending the application deadline.

Organizer: MTRL/Loftwork

With renewed emphasis on our health and well-being in this new era of living, the demand for new and innovative services and products in this space is growing fast.

How might we develop and update products for changing lifestyles? And more importantly, how can innovative materials help to enhance industries ranging from food to skincare – and, in turn, engender better human well-being?

Material Driven Award is a series of design awards that explore meaning born from materials, purpose-built for innovative material manufacturers. Each edition of the award will embrace a central theme, based on both world trends and industry demand in Japan. For this Spring 2022 series, we are in search of materials that can inspire better human well-being and living.

A dedicated supporter of material driven innovation, MTRL by Loftwork is on the lookout for innovative materials around the world. Together with industry leaders, creators and movers and shakers, we hope to not only co-create the well-being of the future, but inspire others to discover their own definition of the well-being experience.

About MTRL/Loftwork

Loftwork is a creative company dedicated to making a positive impact through design with a global community of innovators. We provide innovative design solutions to global clients across various industries, through a range of services and platforms – including MTRL, our material design and innovation platform.

Here at MTRL, we work with a variety of materials, ranging from the common to the cutting-edge, and have supported companies, research institutes and local governments in product development, the development of new applications, as well as branding for new markets. Through MTRL shops and labs, creators and manufacturers can also test, shop for and process materials on the spot

Read more about MTRL’s commitment to material driven innovation:

See MTRL Website

Global x Japan

According to the World Population Review, European countries consistently top ‘quality of life’ rankings each year. Helping us to take on a perspective of living from outside of Japan, our global partner in Europe – FabCafe Barcelona – has been invited to be our official global organizer for the Spring 2022 edition of the Material Driven Innovation Award. We hope to gather innovative materials locally to encourage innovative collaborations between the East and the West.

With quality mobility and ample urban green space, Barcelona is renowned for its first-rate urban life. As part of the award, FabCafe Barcelona will share with us the city’s unique mix of business innovation and leisure, and the ways in which this unique vision can inspire better well-being.

A series of events will be hosted at FabCafe Barcelona to bring together material manufacturers and innovators.

About FabCafe Barcelona

FabCafe is a series of ‘Fab’ innovation labs that specialize in creating products, services and experiences of the future. FabCafe Barcelona first opened its doors in 2014, making its mark as FabCafe’s first-ever European branch in a growing global network. As part of the coworking space Makers of Barcelona, FabCafe Barcelona serves and fosters the creative community of this fabled city, helmed by physicist-turned-entrepreneur David Tena Vicente.


Material Driven Innovation Award welcomes material submissions in any form, any stage, any industry and anywhere in the world. When we say ‘any form’, we mean any form; we are after everything from tangible products, materials, technology (sensor devices, too!), early-stage projects and even types of services.

Evaluation will be based on the potential of the materials aligning with the theme. Material name, characteristics and manufacturing process will be required for entry submissions.

Selection Criteria

MDIA is calling for submissions of innovative materials with the potential to create products that contribute to human well-being. Aside from relevance to award theme, our evaluations with also consider the following aspects:

How does the function of the material bring new value to the product in use? Does it have diverse possibilities, such as collaboration with different materials and different industries?

How does the material contribute to affluence (i.e. good for humans and the global environment)? What impact do the materials themselves have on society, and how will society be changed by using the materials?

What is the overall message that this material is delivering – and through what kind of story? What long-term, rather than short-term, values can it engender? . In short, we are looking for materials that either have quality characteristics or a manufacturing process with a great story.

Last but not least, we would like to know the ways in which the theme of well-being is interpreted.

Why should you apply?

​​Gain A Deeper Understanding of "Well-Being":

Applicants will be able to deepen their understanding of materials that can inspire better human well-being and living, an abstract concept that may only be further realized when linked to one's own products or works.

Re-Examine the Value of Materials and Branding:

The value of materials is not only about specifications and functional appeal. This is an opportunity to consider the qualitative meaning of "value", zooming in on consumer sensibilities.

Connect with Fellow Well-Being Practitioners:

From manufacturers to fellow creators, find peers with similar experiences and values, especially in the context of well-being. Applicants will also receive concrete feedback on the materials from relevant researchers and practitioners who are also striving to make a difference.

Through this new award, we hope to not only realize our visions of well-being, but also discover new and dedicated ways to develop materials for our fast-changing environment.


1. Yasuhiro Horiuchi 堀内 康広 | CEO of Trunk Design

Yasuhiro Horiuchi | CEO of Trunk Design

Born in 1981 in Hyogo Prefecture, Yasuhiro Horiuchi is the founder of Kobe-based design studio and store Trunk Design. In 2011, he launched “Hyogo Craft” as a way to introduce the unique craftsmanship of Hyogo Prefecture, and has since produced eight brands – including apparel, incense, stationery, and tableware. Horiuchi has worked on a series of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry projects aimed at promoting local design and designers, including “MORE THAN Project” in 2015 and “BrandLand JAPAN” in 2018. Currently, he provides support for the production, branding, domestic and international sales channel development, and regional branding of local industries and traditional crafts in not only Hyogo Prefecture but also throughout Japan.

2018 Golden Pin Design Award
2019 Good Design Award Best 100 (Best Focus)
2021 HKDA Global Design Award Judge (Product category)

2. Watanabe Junji 渡邊 淳司 | Lead Researcher of NTT Communication Science Laboratories.

Watanabe Junji |Lead Researcher of NTT Communication Science Laboratories.

Watanabe Junji holds a Ph.D in Information Science and Technology from the University of Tokyo. A lead researcher at NTT Communication Science Laboratories, his research is predominantly concerned with visual and haptic perceptions and communications, and the relationship between human senses and the environment. Beyond the sciences, he is active in the arts, having exhibited works such at the Ars Electronica Center, the Japan Media Arts Festival, the Kobe Biennale and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. He has authored multiple books and publications, and was the 2015 winner of the Mainichi Publication Culture Award (Natural Science Division).

3. Kumiko Idaka 井高 久美子 | Former at Curator Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM)

Kumiko Idaka

Born in Aichi Prefecture, Kumiko Idaka was a curator at the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media (YCAM) from 2012 to 2019. Specializing in exhibition planning and production, she currently works as a freelancer in exhibition planning, predominantly in the art and technology sector. She has worked closely with textiles as part of her curatorial work at the Hosoo Gallery. Recent exhibitions have included Ambient Weaving (2021), Quasicrystal (2020), Breathing Maps (2018-2020) and more.

4. Frederic Seiller | General Manager Aesop Asia and Natura &Co China

Frederic Seiller

Frederic Seiller, a 51yo French citizen, is the CEO for Aesop Asia based out of Hong-Kong. Born and raised in Brittany, France, Frederic has lived in multiple countries in Europe, South America and Asia where he settled over 15 years ago. Curious by nature, he is an avid book worm, learner and traveler, as well as an amateur photographer. Unlike many other businesses, Aesop is well known for celebrating design and originality in an otherwise very mainstream industry. The brand believes that design makes life better. This philosophy translates in the minimalist design of their packaging, visual merchandising and the different and unique design of each of its stores.

5. David Tena Vicente | FabCafe Barcelona CEO

David Tena Vicente | FabCafe Barcelona CEO

David Tena Vicente is the CEO of FabCafe Barcelona. David graduated from the University of Barcelona with his degree in physics which has provided an extensive knowledge of mathematics, electronics and the practical application of mechanics. Projects at FabCafe Barcelona are viewed analytically, adapting and altering when necessary due to complex and unexpected situations. These skills are combined to provide training to universities and businesses and also guide David his management of the resources and ongoing projects at FabCafe Barcelona.

6. Kazuya Ohara | MTRL Business Manager

Kazuya Ohara | MTRL Business Manager

Joined Loftwork in 2015. Completed Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University (Design). Involved in the operation of MTRL, a platform that aims to update the new value of materials, as a founding member. Currently, as a business manager and producer, he is involved in planning, projects, and new business creation for companies based on materials. His motto is "Life is a mismatch. He is the editor of "Can Fashion be Renewed? Conference: Dreaming of Process Innovation for People, Clothes, and Society" (Filmart Publishing, 2015). His nickname is Benkei. He is a specially appointed researcher at the Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University


Award Winners (1 Grand Prize and 3 Finalists)

Grand Prize Winner: Exhibition/promotion at FabCafes in Japan (e.g., material sample boxes, etc.)

  • The material selected as the Grand Prize winner will be packaged into a uniquely designed sample kit. This opportunity will not only generate buzz for the new material, but allow the creator to establish industry connections.

Grand Prize Winner and Finalists: Well-being Material Design Workshop

  • A workshop will be held for the general public to come up with ideas on how to use the materials from the perspective of human well-being. Using the works from the Grand Prize and the finalists as the basis of the workshop, this will be an opportunity for the public to have first-hand interaction with these materials.

Grand Prize Winner and Finalists: Media Coverage of Selected Materials

  • We will report on the selection criteria and the potential of the four materials selected for both the Grand Prize and the finalists, as well as the ways in which these materials contribute to our well-being.
Material Sample Kit


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