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Urban Trends Reimagining The City Life of Tomorrow

In contemporary design and architecture, the trend towards easier e-mobility and greater sustainability is unstoppable. The iF award-winning projects and products reflect the flourishing nature of forward-thinking design for a better urban quality of life.

In a world that has changed unimaginably since last year, the way we move through the day is vastly different. With #stayathome, public spaces in most parts of the world remain empty. But that doesn't mean landscape designers and urban architects haven't been busy thinking about making the best of public areas. Contemporary urban trends and public spaces reflect that. This year we see innovative projects and inspiring products, all focusing on a livable future.

Living in a big city has always been a dream for many people. With the pandemic, many ideas about life have changed, and so it is also crucial to reimagine city life. Why people live in cities, what they have to offer – and how they can be more livable.

iF award-winning designs 2021

LIFE CERSUDS is an intelligent draining system used in place of urban pavement to solve water and soil sealing in cities.
LIFE CERSUDS | Manufacturer: Benicàssim town hall, Benicàssim, Spain

LIFE CERSUDS is an intelligent draining system used in place of urban pavement to solve water and soil sealing in cities.

The Punto Collection is a creative selection of durable, waterproof and comfortable cushions designed specifically for public spaces.
Punto Collection | Manufacturer: Sentat Design, Valencia, Spain

The Punto Collection is a creative selection of durable, waterproof and comfortable cushions designed specifically for public spaces.

Satellite is a striking landscaping element that combines a contemporary seating space for one or more people with a sense of community in the big city.
Satellite | Manufacturer: Escofet 1886, Martorell, Spain

Satellite is a striking landscaping element that combines a contemporary seating space for one or more people with a sense of community in the big city.

Simon SKAT is the studio’s latest luminaire that uses sleek design and modern technology to illuminate public and private spaces alike.
Simon SKAT | Manufacturer: SIMON S. A. U., Barcelona, Spain

Simon SKAT is the studio’s latest luminaire that uses sleek design and modern technology to illuminate public and private spaces alike.

Tongan Wenbi Pagoda Park is a cultural garden in China’s Fujian region that celebrates the alluring beauty of the local farmland while preserving traditions and maintaining the long-standing infrastructure.
Tongan Wenbi Pagoda Park | Manufacturer: Tongan Municipal, Xiamen, China

Tongan Wenbi Pagoda Park is a cultural garden in China’s Fujian region that celebrates the alluring beauty of the local farmland while preserving traditions and maintaining the long-standing infrastructure.

The Infinity Mover is an autonomous train with innovative LiDAR technology that can be used in densely populated areas without dedicated tracks.
Infinity Mover | Manufacturer: Beijing E.U.K. Co., Ltd., Beijing, China

The Infinity Mover is an autonomous train with innovative LiDAR technology that can be used in densely populated areas without dedicated tracks.

Urban ESPORA is an energy-efficient irrigation system that mimics a green roof and can be activated via an app for additional control.
Urban ESPORA | Manufacturer: URBAN ESPORA, S.L., Hoyo de Manzanares, Spain

Urban ESPORA is an energy-efficient irrigation system that mimics a green roof and can be activated via an app for additional control.

Eli ZERO is an innovative micro electric vehicle designed for small spaces and narrow streets, enabling easy – and energy-efficient – urban transportation.
Eli ZERO | Manufacturer: Eli Electric Vehicles, Los Angeles, United States

Eli ZERO is an innovative micro electric vehicle designed for small spaces and narrow streets, enabling easy – and energy-efficient – urban transportation.

Impression of Railway is a contemporary urban concept that repurposes a former train station into an impressive recreational park with an urban garden.
Impression of Railway | Manufacturer: Urban Development Bureau of Taichung City Government, Taichung City, Taiwan

Impression of Railway is a contemporary urban concept that repurposes a former train station into an impressive recreational park with an urban garden.

Tumbler is an urban lighting design aiming to make a city’s streets more attractive through a minimal lampshade that feels like home.
Tumbler | Manufacturer: Urbidermis, La Roca (Barcelona), Spain

Tumbler is an urban lighting design aiming to make a city’s streets more attractive through a minimal lampshade that feels like home.

The Seoul Botanic Park is a spectacular greenhouse because of its enormous size and unusual round shape – a green oasis in the city’s center.
Seoul Botanic Park | Manufacturer: Seoul Housing & Communities Corp., Seoul, South Korea

The Seoul Botanic Park is a spectacular greenhouse because of its enormous size and unusual round shape – a green oasis in the city’s center.

V-Plaza is an expansive park concept with playful elements and curved lines for nature and sports enthusiasts alike.
V-Plaza | Manufacturer: SBA Group, Vilnius, Lithuania

V-Plaza is an expansive park concept with playful elements and curved lines for nature and sports enthusiasts alike.

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Last year's events have only accelerated urban trends that were already emerging in recent years: Natural elements are just as important as sustainability and technology for a better future in the city. Spending time surrounded by nature is something many city dwellers crave, not just since the pandemic, but especially currently when they are cooped up in their homes. E-mobility has already been one of the most talked-about urban trends and an essential concept for the future, connecting people and places while at the same time reducing carbon emissions.

This year’s winners of the iF awarded products in the category Public / Retail are the best indicator of the ever-growing interest in green urban design. Landscape architects and product designers have people's best interests at heart when shaping contemporary public spaces. And while some people may suddenly flock to the countryside, avid urbanites long to have the best of both worlds as life returns to normal: a vibrant city life with a thriving cultural scene with abundant greenery nearby for a climate-friendly future.

Future-oriented concepts use a city's streets, rooftops and sidewalks for their innovations: from organically-shaped urban furniture like "Satellite" to strengthen the sense of community among city dwellers to "LIFE CERSUDS", a smart pavement system designed to solve current problems like water and soil sealing. The "V-Plaza" a public park with curved elements, brings nature into the city in a playful way; the "Seoul Botanic Park" is a spectacular circular greenhouse, an oasis for any nature lover in the middle of a metropolis.

With cutting-edge technologies such as the "Infinity Mover", an autonomous train without the need for dedicated tracks on the streets, or the micro electric vehicle "Eli ZERO", designers create urban mobility that explores all possibilities and exceeds imaginations. What all these inspiring projects and products have in common? They all use public environments to make our world a better place.

Swipe through the renewed iF design app for more inspiration

iF design app - relaunch 10 May 2021

Are you interested in more collections of iF award winning designs? We serve you with our renewed iF design app. Download it for free on Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

(published on 10 May 2021)