A rotomolded, shapely garden planter takes top award at TopCon

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The Kitchen Community The Learning Garden Bed is designed as a space for both hands-on learning and play.

CLEVELAND — A garden planter for schools and a sound amplification device for an iPhone that looks like an old-fashioned ear trumpet won top honors in the product design competition at TopCon 2014, sponsored by the Society of Plastics Engineers’ Rotational Molding Division.

The Learning Garden Bed won first place in the Professional Division for The Kitchen Community in Boulder, Colo., which is the philanthropic arm of the The Kitchen restaurant group. The curvy vegetable gardens are designed to be hands-on learning environments and play spaces for schools and community areas. The firm has installed 172 Learning Gardens so far. Jamie Wirkler, product manager, attended the Cleveland conference to accept the award and $3,000.

Artist Jen Lewin conceptualized, prototyped and designed The Learning Gardens with The Kitchen Community. The components are molded by several different companies.

Second Place, and $1,500 went to Tom Fish, creative director at Little Tikes Co. in Hudson, Ohio, for a Pirate Bed.

Honorable mentions in the Professional Division went to Ahuha Yuvraj Singh, director of Frontier Polymers Pvt. Ltd., in Amritsar, India; Tom Fish of Little Tikes for a swing set and Larry Moody, president and partner of WaveMaster Docking Systems Inc. in Tampa, Fla. Each won a $1,000 prize.

Kyle Anderson Kyle Anderson won first place in the student division for his iCoustics amplifier.

Kyle Anderson won first place, and $500, in the Student Division for his iCoustics hearing amplifier for an iPhone.

Anderson — like every single student winner — attends the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design.

Second place and $250 went to Jacqueline Edwards for her wagon for a children’s hospital.

Ten students picked up honorable mentions and $150 each: Laetitia Diouet for a balcony planter; Nicole Rybacek for a food prep station for grilling; Anthony Graykowski for a fishing storage device called Pelican; Caitlin Washburn for a doghouse; Sahanna Parvath Mahadevan for the FloraFauna; Celia Carroll for a composter; Dan Mai for a cooler couch; Gaoly Naopao for a play desk; Zeke Johnson for a tennis teacher; and Joshua Govek for a multi-functional gardening tool.

Winners in the Professional Division must be commercial products. Student winners could be a 2-D drawing or CAD solid model.