Thorough work earns prestigious awards – the results are on display at Akademija+



On 15 February, the Akademija+ exhibition opened at the Vilnius Art Academy's Titanikas exhibition hall. The goal of the exhibition is to present the synergy of design, technology and business as a potential source of innovations. Most of the exhibition's displays were created by current and former VAA students. These include Julius Bučelis, whose products have earned numerous national and international awards and whose success story began in a simple workshop.

Forging his own success at a design workshop

According to Julius Bučelis, his participation in workshops organised by the ACME Europe company gave his career a strong push forward. “The situation was rather unusual. An ACME Europe representative visited the Design Hotel, which was still operating at the time, looking for designers for the new product creation division they were creating. The assignment was simple – create a mouse, a speaker and a bag. We separated into groups and began our work,” recollected Bučelis. The designer added that those who did the best on the assignment were invited to work at the new division and that their creative work had been productive. They created two new products – the PEAK backpack and the JUNGLE headphones.

More awards than he can hold in one hand

Bučelis began working at ACME Europe at the end of 2011 and soon received his first award for the product he had started creating at the workshop. In 2013, the JUNGLE mini headphones received an award at the Geras Dizainas 2013 national design competition for their exceptional functionality.

The PEAK backpack/basket and the MOON headphones, both of which also began their design processes at the workshop, received prestigious iF DESIGN AWARD 2014 awards. The next year, DROP, the screen cleaning set presented by Bučelis, received recognition both in Lithuania and abroad (iF DESIGN AWARD 2015 and Geras dizainas 2015). In 2016, the BAT speaker received the Geras dizainas 2016 prize.

Inspired by constantly improving technologies

When asked where he draws inspiration from, the product designer said that his priority is functionality. “It's important that there would be one clear main function, and that using it must be logical. Because I prioritise geometric shapes, they often hint at how an object should work,” said Bučelis. “For example, the fundamental function of the BAT speaker is that it is very easy to control. The round shape seems to dictate that the sound is regulated by rotating the only button on the device,” the designer added. According to Bučelis, the materials are equally important, as they ensure the product's quality and longevity.

Technological design is being replaced by fashion design

According to Bučelis, technological creation is slowly disappearing. As he puts it, “technological design is being replaced by fashion design,” meaning that objects that once had a single function (making a person's everyday life easier) are now becoming elements of someone's everyday life and style. “When buying a new portable computer, we don't just want it to work well, we want it to look good, too, and we want our headphones to match our phone or even our whole style,” the specialist added.

“We can also clearly see a trend towards integrating new technologies into our clothes or accessories. Fabrics are becoming smart – backpacks can tell you how much weight you're putting into them, and it's been a while since watches just showed us the time,” said Bučelis, sharing his thoughts on the latest fashion and technology design trends.