Winners announced in the ET Foundation 2020 design competition

The grand prize of $5,500 was awarded to Filippo Tomasi, of Treviso, Italy, and Paola Zani from Brescia, Italy, for their Ippocrate – Portable Isolation Unit for Emergency Situations. (Courtesy: AEC)

Winning entries in the ET Foundation’s 2020 International Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition have been announced on the website at

The competition attracted 25 professional entries and nearly 130 student entries from nearly 20 countries around the world.

Professional designers, manufacturers, and students were awarded a total of $27,000 in the 2020 Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition, which included two classes of competition: student and professional. Student scholarship awards totaling $15,500 were sponsored by Bonnell Aluminum; $6,000 in professional awards, and a grand prize of $5,500 were sponsored by the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC). Winning designs included a portable isolation unit for hospitals, a convertible bed/cart for refugees, a lightweight bridge decking system, a new generation camping trailer, and more.

The entries were reviewed and evaluated by aluminum extrusion industry professionals, including David Asher, process optimization manager for Bonnell Aluminum in Newnan, Georgia; Todd Boyer, director of sales & marketing for Mid-States Aluminum in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin; and Dr. Joseph Benedyk, editor of Light Metal Age magazine and aluminum industry veteran.

Student winners in the 2020 Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition used their own experiences and real-life challenges to inform their design process, using aluminum extrusions to develop innovative products that solve problems.

The grand prize of $5,500 was awarded to Filippo Tomasi, of Treviso, Italy, studying design at Royal College of Art in London, UK, and Paola Zani from Brescia, Italy, studying design at Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy, for their Ippocrate – Portable Isolation Unit for Emergency Situations.

Their design was developed out of a desire to help provide relief for hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic, which affected their home country of Italy especially hard. The students will share the $5,500 grand prize award.

Aluminum’s light weight and the modular design makes the Ippocrate an easily portable and adaptable solution for hospital overflow environments and emergency situations. The units can be scaled up due to the modularity of the design by constructing the rooms side-by-side, removing the divider walls and joining the profiles with a clip.

“In the age of ‘COVID’ this is a great concept,” said competition judge Boyer. “Of all the COVID-referenced projects [submitted in the competition this year] this seems [to be] the most applicable [and] real.”

First place in the student competition, with a $5,000 scholarship, was awarded to Emma Jacobs, Sherwood, Oregon, who is a biomedical engineering student at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, for her Quixet kick plate for swimming pool racing platforms. Explaining her reasoning behind her design, she said that starting blocks are used by swimmers to dive into the pool for swimming competitions. Having been a competitive swimmer in high school, and now in college, Jacobs said her high school did not replace the starting blocks after the regulation change in 2008 due, in large part, to the financial burden. Suspecting a similar experience by other schools across the country, Jacobs decided to design an adjustable pool starting block that could be retrofitted onto an existing platform, saving schools the cost of replacing the entire starting block.

A team of four students from L’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique (Studio Montreal) in Montreal, Canada, won second place for their HAUL Cargo Bike. Paul Poirier, Bastien Adam, Malo Sahores, and Clément Moinardeau each will share the $4,000 scholarship award. Their HAUL project focused on helping the City of Montreal reduce traffic congestion and pollution. The team developed a cargo bike with modular crates to optimize the work of delivery people “for the last kilometer delivery.” The use of extruded aluminum forms the base of the bike and boxes filled with parcels rest on the base. The system allows rapid loading and unloading from small parcels to larger packages.

“The extrusion designs facilitate easy handling of various sized crates and packages,” said competition judge Benedyk. “And, by replacing delivery trucks, the design offers a pollution solution.

Jacob DeGroot, a student studying Industrial Design at the University of Wisconsin – Stout in Menomonie, Wisconsin, was awarded third place, earning him a $3,000 scholarship for his design of The Wissota, a hammock system that efficiently uses space for campers who want a new recreational experience using their vehicle. The collapsible hammock rack uses limited parts and simple geometry to offer a design that covers a rapidly expanding market, according to the student.

Alejandrina Hernandez Zavarce, a student studying Industrial Design at Dawson College in Montreal, Quebec, won the Bonnell Sustainable Design Award with a $3,500 scholarship prize for her Cart/Bed for Refugees. Zavarce used her and her family’s experience as they fled their home in Venezuela in 2015 to inform her design. The student’s multifunctional design provides a way to carry one’s belongings and then converts into a bed. The design uses one simple extruded tube profile for the support structure and the handle, making it a cost-effective solution.

Nearly 30 entries from professional designers and manufacturers from around the world were received in the Profession Design Competition. Three prizes were awarded in two categories, structural and transportation, with two winners being recognized in the transportation category.

First place in the structural category, with a $2,000 prize in the Professional Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition, was awarded to Alexandre de la Chevrotière of MAADI Group, Inc. in Montreal, Québec, Canada, for an all-extruded aluminum bridge deck. The GuarDECK system maximizes functionality and minimizes environmental impacts with a pedestrian walkway that is built onto a new or existing bridge, providing safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists and reducing traffic congestion, according to the designer.

Building on their success with the GO camper/trailer, a grand prize winner in the 2008 Aluminum Extrusion Design Competition, industrial designer Ryan Bush and the team at Sylvan Sport developed the VAST RV camping trailer with extensive use of aluminum extrusions, earning the company a $2,000 prize in the transportation category. An innovative all-seasons kitchen, a first for the RV industry according to the company, allows the camper to enjoy cooking meals indoors or outdoors with their patented easy slide technology. The side-mounted rack system features extruded aluminum built-in rails that turn the entire side of the R/V into storage for kayaks, canoes or paddleboards. Protected storage for propane tanks, batteries, and a spare tire is mounted in a front pod that slides forward on extruded aluminum rails.

A second transportation prize was awarded to Marc Senger, an industrial design professional in Weymouth, Massachusetts, who designed the “GRIDFLEX Light Utility Truck” and extruded aluminum universal mounting system for light utility vehicles, which earned him $2,000. The mounting system is designed to “enhance contractors’ abilities to adapt their vehicle to a multiplicity of functional needs,” Senger said in explaining his entry. “Extrusions allow high-strength yet lightweight features, which accept ‘task modules’, which may be repositioned anywhere along the extrusion. This allows ultimate flexibility when outfitting and using the vehicle.”