2016 Student Design Competition

MAB24H 2016 has now finished. Congratulations to all the teams who participated! The winners can be seen below.

Competition Results

Winners: Team Kaff

Winners for their unique and novel idea that set it apart from others.

Title: Grow-it

Description: Grow-it not only encourages social interaction and social engagement between the different people without forcing them to talk with each other, but by growing plants. The plants are attracted to other plants growing in the space. If you interact with the space long enough the plant you have grown by interacting and doing activities in the space will intertwine with the other plants, and you will create a symbiosis with the plants that other people created in the space.

Kathe Elisabeth Reimuth, Malene Henriksen

Aarhus University: Experience Economics (MA) and Digital Design (MA), Denmark

Runners-up: 2-tomnco

Honourable mention for best video

Title: 2connect

Description: 2connect is an interactive communication public display that aims to break communication barriers between different social groups around a public transportation point. People can share their opinions on common topics that affect their community and engage in conversations with others who have similar interests.

Toms, Toms, Gundega, Julija

Art Academy of Latvia - Department of Functional Design, Latvia

Breaking cultural silos with digital placemaking

Design Brief

In cities, the central marketplace used to be the venue where the different segments of society congregated. People from different social classes had an opportunity to sell their products, tell their stories, teach each other skills, exchange tips and experiences, engage in creative activities or simply play together.

As Western urban environments started to sprawl and grow both in size and complexity, the role of the central marketplace in shaping the character of the city progressively diminished. It is not uncommon for people living in larger cities to have their whole life defined within the constraints of a single social group, being defined by ethnicity, nationality, religion or even sport affiliation. Furthermore, population spread, coupled with lack of commuting options and increasing regulation of public spaces, often discourage spontaneous expressions of community life. Even in cities with a large amount of shared public spaces - like parks, plazas or beaches - an underlying social division is often perceived, where people tend not to cross the boundaries of their familiar social group. People share public spaces, but public spaces do not necessarily prompt people to create shared experiences.

In defining Digital Placemaking, the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) proposes that “we shape our public spaces, thereafter they shape us” (see Reference 1) and in commenting on the terminology of ‘placemaking’ The Placemakers Group ponders how one might also think of concepts like “place-shaking” (Reference 2).

Your task for the next 24 hours is to work with this metaphor of the central square market place and on placemaking and place-shaking in the digital realm: Based on the premise that when we conceptualise and build public spaces, we also build social structures into them, how could technology and digital media be used to shape public spaces that would be better at breaking social barriers down and encourage the bridging of gaps between different communities? What kind of urban interventions with technology might empower citizens to self-organise and engage in bottom-up, semi-formal and community-driven sharing activities in public spaces? Sharing can be many things -- stories, gossip, tools, resources, workplaces -- and we invite you to think about this aspect as you dive into how digital technologies can also shape public spaces (and be shaped by them).


Reference 1

Reference 2

What you should do

  • Choose a public space in your city where you can observe distinct social groups sharing the space but not necessarily engaging in common activities.
  • Identify the different groups that occupy that public space and the potential cultural or social aspects keeping them apart.
  • Propose a solution utilising technology and digital media that could empower citizens to self-organise and engage in bottom-up, semi-formal and community-driven sharing activities.
There are many ways of doing it, one way is to focus on topics like:
  • Urban gardening, food sharing, bee keeping, bushcare groups.
  • Thrifting, reuse or exchange of second hand articles.
  • Sharing or offering of knowledge, services, goods, skills, etc. That may or may not involve exchange of money, but think of what some people might be able to offer someone else: for instance, someone might know a language that someone else would like to learn in exchange for another skill.
  • Leisure activities for everyone.
  • Collective creativity / participatory public art.


You will have to submit the following:

  1. An online design journal on Tumblr

    To demonstrate your design process you are required to keep a Tumblr blog throughout the 24 hours. Use your Tumblr to record any major stages for your design, such as user research, prototyping, etc - the Tumblr setup is very well suited for shorter notes, pictures etc and will be easy to maintain throughout the competition. Tumblr is also suited for following specific tags, much like Twitter (see for instance

    Share as much as you can. We don’t expect you to share any ideas or results before the end of the 24-hour challenge, but what we want to be able to follow is the methodology you used to come up with your final design and possibly some of your inspirations and ideas as well.

    Make sure we have the link to your Tumblr by submitting it to the form provided here. Remember to include the names of all team members somewhere on your blog. Preferably ASAP after the competition begins.

  2. Video

    To demonstrate your solution you are asked to submit a video. This can be either a video prototype or a concept video. Anything from animation through screen capture to acting is valid. Note that this means that you don't necessarily have to implement the system. The video should not be longer than 3 minutes. Include at least a title and your team name somewhere in the video. Make sure to leave enough time for rendering the video as this can be a slow process.

  3. Final note

    To describe your project, you additionally have to write a brief note explaining concept, design process, and response. You are also encouraged to include research references and other relevant links in the note.

How to submit

Send the links to your final note and to your video to [email protected]. We will send you a confirmation email when we have received your submission.

The video and note have to be submitted as final post on your Tumblr blog. Upload your video to an online video site, such as Vimeo or YouTube, that allows you to embed it in your blog post.

Since uploading to online video sites can take time, you can optionally upload the final video file to or any other file sharing service, and include the download link as a placeholder in your final blog post by Sunday 10 April 8:00am (AEST). Make sure that your video is properly embedded on your blog no later than Sunday 10 April 5:00pm (AEST).

Submissions will be open until Sunday 10 April 8:00am (AEST).

Videos must be properly embedded on your blod by no later than Sunday 10 April 5:00pm (AEST).


Your submission will be assessed by our international panel of judges according to the following criteria:

  • Quality of design process and use of methods and theory
  • Design quality, innovation, and originality of your response to the challenge
  • Considerations into user experience and user interaction
  • Quality, visual style, clarity, and depth of the submission (video and note)

Prizes & Awards

The judges will review all submissions to the 24-hour online challenge using the above criteria. The prizes for the winning and runner up teams will be:

  • A mention in the design competition chapter of the official MAB16 book (published by av edition).
  • Copies of the official MAB16 book.
  • One complimentary full pass or MAB16 for the winning team.
  • Award certificates for all team members.

Coverage and documentation/Talk about your progress

Apart from the submission requirements mentioned above, we love to see as much 'behind the scenes' coverage as possible – use your Tumblr blog to tell us about your process as well as Twitter, Flickr, Vimeo, YouTube, etc to cover every aspect of your design journey. Please use #mab24H for tagging any challenge-related posts on all of these social media services. There will be someone from the organising team available online throughout the 24 hours.

Online support

You can post questions on Twitter (@MABiennale), or through email ([email protected]). We will provide support throughout the 24 hours of the challenge.


By participating in the MAB24H student design challenge, you agree to the publication of your entry (video and blog) on the MAB website ( You further grant us the rights to include parts from your video submission in a video documentation about the challenge. Any material we publish will be fully referenced and your team will remain the copyrights.