News & Views

Cannes Lions / Design Lions and Product Design Lions

by Emily Hare

Google and Panasonic take the Grands Prix in the Product Design and Innovation Design categories

Google's Project Jacquard, a system for weaving interactivity into fabrics through special connected threads, won the Product Design Grand Prix at Cannes Lions today. The wearable fabric was entered by Google's Creative Lab in London. 

Amina Horozic, chair of the jury and lead industrial designer at fuseproject, praised the project for opening up huge potential for designers, giving them the opportunity to invisibly weave technology into any textile using conductive threads and miniaturised electronics.

Horozic added that the jury wanted to push the boundaries of product design and select a Grand Prix that didn't confirm the status quo. ‘We definitely selected something that’s perhaps not a typical product design, but something that enables product designers to dream. I can use this in furniture or it could be used on a hospital bed or embedded in sheets or at my Grandma’s house if she falls. - it has so many solutions that are practical and beautiful and safer.’ The jury was also impressed by the way the work reflects how technology is integrated seamlessly into our lives: We don’t talk about analog and digital, we just talk about solutions,’ Horozic added.

Technology also had a substantial impact in the Design category. The Grand Prix was awarded to Panasonic's Life is Electric, through Dentsu Inc Tokyo. The brand's experiment saw it test 21 eneloop batteries using different power sources such as citrus fruit, a weightlifter and a hamster in a wheel.

Tristan Macherel, jury president and ECD, Landor France, explained: ‘We wanted to give a Grand Prix to a big brand that had been brave, we’re awarding a client and a brand, not only an agency.’ The jury was impressed that the work moves the product away from its commoditised sector to bring storytelling into every touchpoint between the brand and consumer, creating a bridge between digital tools and the analog world in the process.

Jury member Tim Allen, Wolff Olins president North America agreed, saying the best work was separated by its ability to solve a problem in a joyful, beautiful, sometimes sexy, sometimes emotional way, The Grand Prix did just that, using a storytelling solution to communicate in a very functional way.  

These technologically-enabled pieces of work offer a challenge to the industry. As chair Tristan Macherel said, ‘More and more use of technology is a huge thing. I think there is still a huge challenge for our industry and for the agencies to ensure that the use of technologies meets with a purpose, to create a difference and relevance for brands.’


Cannes Deconstructed